MANCHESTER, October 24 – Manchester United manager David Moyes declared that he had had his eyes opened by Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa during the 1-0 win over Real Sociedad in the Champions League.
Kagawa has made only four competitive starts since Moyes joined United, but he played the entirety of Wednesday’s game at Old Trafford and produced an effervescent, determined performance on the left flank of the hosts’ attack.
He was even granted time in his preferred position as a central playmaker, following the 80th-minute substitution of Javier Hernandez, and Moyes says he is belatedly beginning to appreciate the 24-year-old’s qualities.
“I thought he was really good. His effort when we didn’t have the ball was fantastic,” Moyes told reporters after the game.
“Everybody tells me (about) his abilities and what he’s got and tonight (Wednesday) was the first time I’d really seen Shinji. Shinji I thought played really well tonight.
“I thought when we put him into the number 10 role, even after he was very good with Wayne (Rooney), and off the left tonight. And he plays off the left for Japan.
“His attitude and his energy was excellent and I was pleased for Shinji. As I said, that was the best I’d seen him play since I’ve taken over.”
United’s victory, secured by a second-minute own goal by Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez, left Moyes’s side a point clear of Bayer Leverkusen at the top of Champions League Group A.