• Premier League

Ferguson calls for Kagawa patience

ESPN staff
February 18, 2013
The Premier League has proved a tough challenge for Shinji Kagawa © PA Photos

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Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United will see the best of Shinji Kagawa in his second season at Old Trafford.

The United manager admitted the physicality of the English game has provided a culture shock for the Japan international, a summer signing from Borussia Dortmund.

Kagawa is the reigning Asian International Footballer of the Year and scored 17 goals last season to help Borussia win their second successive Bundesliga title but has only struck twice in an injury-hit first campaign for United.

And ahead of the FA Cup clash with Reading on Monday, Ferguson said: "He's come from an environment that is completely different. I think the difference between German football and English football has been shown. In Germany you can't foul. It's foul after foul.

"The Premier League is completely different as there's physical contact in our game and it's different to Germany but, next year, he'll be better."

Kagawa, who cost United £13 million, was a surprise selection for the Champions League game away against Real Madrid and while he failed to make a major impact in the 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu, Ferguson said he was pleased with some of the things he saw.

He added: "In the first half an hour he was terrific as he kept making these great runs through them, which we thought was going to be one of our biggest assets in the game.

"He was just unlucky that he had a couple of heavy touches on the ball when he made runs past Robin van Persie. He kept opening them up, but people don't see that, which is a wee bit unfair, as he did really well for us."

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