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Monday 24 June 2013

Kagawa determined to improve for Manchester United

Japan star says more to come from him next term after quiet first Premier League campaign

Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa says there is more to come from him as he reflects on his first season in the Barclays Premier League.

The 24-year-old Japan international was one of the big additions to the competition when he joined United from German side Borussia Dortmund. He started 17 League matches for the champions, scoring six goals, and became the first Asian player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League in the 4-0 victory over Norwich City in March. He also became the first Japanese player to claim a Barclays Premier League winners' medal.

However, Kagawa spent two months on the sidelines with a knee injury and in an exclusive interview for the Premier League, he says he would have liked to have contributed more to his first year in English football.

"Whenever it gets difficult for me, I just train and look ahead to the future"
Shinji Kagawa

"I am not happy with my performance for the team at all," he said. "I didn't score that much and I also had my injury.

"Despite that, it was great we won the League, I just don't feel that I achieved everything that I wanted. For me personally, it wasn't a good season."

Kagawa, who won the Bundesliga title both seasons he was with Dortmund, began his career at Cerezo Osaka in 2006 when he became the first Japanese player outside the J-League youth system to sign a professional contract while he was still at school. And his desire to improve comes as no surprise to his former manager at Cerezo Osaka, Levir Culpi.

"Shinji has an important quality," said Culpi. "He is always trying to make something happen. He never becomes complacent. He always wants more, that is a trait of his that I noticed from the start. He is always trying to add something else and that is really important for an athlete."

Kagawa, whose season has been extended by international commitment for Japan in FIFA World Cup qualifying and this month’s FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, will serve under a new manager at Manchester United when he returns to Old Trafford and will work hard to improve on his form of the last campaign as he bids to impress David Moyes.

"I always think that I must play well," he added. "And I always have an image in my mind of how I want to play, wherever the position. Whenever there is a tough time, whenever it gets difficult for me, I just train and look ahead to the future."

Mobile users: To watch a video about Kagawa's journey from Osaka to Manchester, with exclusive interviews from the player and his former coaches, go to www.premierleague.com on your desktop.

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Key Points

  • Shinji Kagawa says he was disappointed with how he played in his first season at Man Utd
  • The Japanese star signed from Borussia Dortmund last summer
  • He also looks backs at his career so far