We chatted to Shinji Kagawa on tour in Shanghai about the start of his United career…
What has impressed you most so far as a United player?
The big welcome at the stadiums and the supporters’ response to us. I have joined such a great club and I want to achieve results here. I want to play football without forgetting that fact. United have so many fans and, because of that, I feel a big responsibility. That is in my mind each day.
What is the biggest difference you see between United and Dortmund?
I was totally amazed by how many fans came out in South Africa and China, and how loud they were! It made me realise that United supporters are all over the world. It dawned on me how big a club United is and I feel very proud and lucky to be a part of this club.
Sir Alex says you pick up things in training quickly, despite not speaking English yet…
I understand what I should be doing in training because most of the football exercises are easy to understand. I know my English is not good yet so I will study hard so that I can communicate with my team-mates directly as soon as possible.
Which players do you communicate with?
Players from South America such as Anderson and Antonio (Valencia) often strike up friendly conversations with me, which is a big help. Anderson asked me to teach him some Japanese.
What did you teach him?
I taught him ore kakkoii ("I am cool" or "I am handsome"). It is nice to see everyone seems to be interested in Japan.
How does it feel to be the first Japanese football player at United?
I won’t suddenly change my playing style. I think people appreciate that of me as a footballer and it’s why I think I was able to join United. As I did in the Bundesliga for two years, I would like to show my presence in attack – scoring goals, assisting my team-mates. If my combination with my team-mates improves, I believe there will be chances. I will use my experience.
What is your goal for the season?
Every single day is important. I have to achieve results in each