Manchester United signing Shinji Kagawa has been told by the club he must adapt his game to become more of a threat in the Premier League.
The former Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder starred for his former club netting 21 goals in 49 appearances, and while he has scored twice in six appearances for United, Kagawa revealed he has been instructed to be more dangerous.
And the Japanese playmaker appears to have been ordered to stay forward and face the opposition goal so as not to drop back too deep and nullify his goal-scoring instincts.
“They have told me not to face the goal with my back, but move my body so I have a short way to the goal,” he told reporters.
“(I must) shape my body so I am facing the stands. I have to face the goal or I won’t be a threat.”
The 23-year-old playmaker is an industrious worker, with Dortmund utilising his impressive work rate in order to play a high-pressing game, yet Kagawa feels he needs to get stronger to cope with the Premier League.
“I’ve realised that I need to limber up and strengthen my body trunk,” he said.
Kagawa played out on the right for the first hour of United’s 3-0 away win at Newcastle United on Sunday, with his normal position behind the strikers being occupied by Wayne Rooney, who tweeted after the game: “Really enjoying my new midfield role, always involved.”
Such a response suggests Kagawa may have a challenger for his preferred role.
However, manager Sir Alex Ferguson has praised Kagawa’s opening to English football.
“We’re very pleased with Shinji. Adapting to English football isn’t easy but bit by bit he’s getting down to that part,” the Scot said.
“You always try and improve your players; that’s our job as coaches and hopefully we can improve Kagawa.”