Shinji Kagawa key to Manchester United European success

Manchester United opinion: Shinji Kagawa has the quality to bring European dominance to Old Trafford

Ben Adam
Published 05/01/2013 17:40 by Ben Adam, read by 13,953 people.

For all of Manchester United's domestic dominance under Sir Alex Ferguson, the club have won the Champions League just twice under the Scot.

Ferguson himself would be the first to admit two wins – for a club in such stature as Manchester United - since the tournament's creation in 1995 is a relatively underwhelming achievement.

United have had recent success in the competition between 2008 and 2011, winning the tournament in 08' whilst reaching the finals in 09' and 11'.

However, the last two seasons have yielded little - with the side failing to progress past the first knockout stage.

The Manchester United midfield has been lamented weak in recent seasons. They lack the tenacity and ability to perform at the highest level of club football.

However – despite being linked with a number of midfielders around Europe, Ferguson has plenty of talent at his disposal.

Sir Alex Ferguson recently claimed that Phil Jones could be Manchester United's greatest ever player. Jones, 21, is in similar mould to the great Duncan Edwards – who, had he not passed away in the fatal Munich air crash, may be spoken about today as the greatest Manchester United player ever.

Phil Jones' versatility has seen him line up in numerous positions at United this season – with his performance of the season coming against Real Madrid in a defensive-midfield role. Jones nullified the threat of Ronaldo down the right forcing him to the left – where he would eventually score.

However, Sir Alex has confirmed that he see's the future of Phil Jones at centre half for Manchester United. But that's not too say we could see him play both.

Phil Jones' development this year has been terrific, and it will be difficult to exclude Phil from any future starting line-up, regardless of his position.

Manchester United fans have been crying out for a midfield enforcer this summer, in Phil Jones, Sir Alex already has one.

After some early inconsistency and constant injury niggles, Shinji Kagawa has finally begun to settle at Manchester United, and we're beginning to notice it in his performances.

Kagawa is precisely the 'European midfielder' Manchester United need to compete in the middle of the park. He possesses exceptional technical skill, his first touch a magnet for the ball even in the tightest of spaces.

It is in this congested area of the pitch - between the opposition lines of defence and attack - that he operates best.

Kagawa is effortless in everything he does, drifting in and out of space, gliding around the pitch, comfortable in possession. If Manchester United want to assemble a squad capable of battling on the European front – Kagawa must be the fulcrum in attack.

Manchester United have a midfield capable of domestic dominance. That should act as stepping stone for their return to the summit of European football. The midfield does need improving, but there is plenty of talent already in this squad, one day capable of bringing home the biggest of club honours, the UEFA Champions League.


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