At the end of last season, the club went through its biggest overhaul in a quarter of a century. How big an adjustment did you personally have to make when the new coaching regime began?
The change of manager meant the competition for places in the team started all over again. I had to appeal to the way David Moyes wants to play. Every day I work really hard to win this competition, to prove my ability to the manager. His demands are not out of the ordinary but I'm still trying to improve my own skills and maintain my fitness, to work hard and achieve more for the team.
We know your preferred position is behind the main striker but are you comfortable playing on the left now?
I played behind the main striker at Dortmund but I usually play on the left with Japan, and I also took this role at Cerezo Osaka. I have some experience out wide but I think I should be flexible enough to play in a number of roles, so I'm a more attractive player to the team and can contribute even more. Every day I'm learning how to trouble my opponents on the left, how best to cause them problems with my movement, but I'd still like to be capable of taking up more positions.
Do you relish it when the games come thick and fast? It must be a novel experience for you at this time of year...
That's very true! I didn't experience it fully with United last season because of my injury, and of course they have a winter break in the Bundesliga. Actually, I emailed some of my former team-mates in Dortmund and they told me their break this year is from 21 December to 25 January. I was gutted! But the truth is I'm quite excited and happy to have the chance to participate in the run of games at this time.