Shinji Kagawa claims he must improve to survive at Manchester United

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You’ll be hard-pressed to find an English football fan who doesn’t think Shinji Kagawa deserves more playing time at Manchester United.

He’s quick, skillful, creative and could be an optimal playmaker for Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, or both.

So the fact that the Japanese international has started only a single Premier League contest – last weekend’s 2-1 loss to West Brom – has left most fans nonplussed.

Ever the grounded personality, Kagawa knows reputation alone isn’t enough to keep him on the pitch: “I need to improve more and more, or I cannot survive at this club,” he said.

The Japanese international is interpreting his lack of playing time at United as a message from manager David Moyes that he needs to prove himself. “I have to take this in a positive way and keep trying to do my best,” Kagawa said.

When asked about his thoughts on the West Brom match, the midfielder explained that he could’ve made a contribution if he had only stayed on the pitch longer. “I thought that I would have been able to find some space to create the chances in the second half.  In that sense I was disappointed. Sure, I wasn’t involved that much. I didn’t touch the ball enough but I was trying to be patient so I didn’t feel that bad.”

Moyes pulled Kagawa at halftime in favor of 18-year-old Belgian prodigy Adnan Januzaj.

In 45 minutes of play Kagawa registered fairly decent stats, touching the ball 38 times, creating two chances and one shot on target, winning six of eight duels and connecting 27 passes for an 85.2% completion rate.

By means of comparison, Januzaj had 32 touches, failed to create a chance, put one shot off target, won seven of nine duels and connected on 17 passes for a 58.8% completion rate.