Are there any areas of his game he particularly needs to work on?
Not really. I don’t think the Premier League is necessarily more physical than the Bundesliga. There might be more running, but it’s hard to top what Dortmund have done in terms of sheer ground they cover. If there’s any player who will find the tempo easy to adapt to, it’s him. He’s never going to be a big threat in terms of heading ability, but that’s not going to change and you don’t need him to. That’s really it. He just needs to keep growing as a player and become even more consistent. The team he’s played in was near-perfect and he really found the perfect position for himself so it’s hard, on the back of that, to think of too many faults. You could say maybe he needs to bulk up ever so slightly if he’s going to be played consistently out wide, where he’s going to have to hold off full-backs.
How important was he in Dortmund’s recent successes?
He was certainly very good in the first season, but then he got injured in January 2011 and he missed the great run they had towards the end of 2010/11 when they really pulled away. The real strong stuff came when he was injured, but he was still an integral part of winning the Bundesliga title. In 2011/12 though, he really was arguably their most influential performer after Robert Lewandowski. Mario Götze missed four months of the season and people hardly noticed because Kagawa was so good. He also made Lewandowski look really good because the understanding between the two is just phenomenal. Everybody should watch the second goal that they scored against Bayern in the cup final last month. It’s all one-touch and you could see they instinctively knew where each other was.
How impressive was his adaptation to life in Germany, on and off the field?
Dortmund isn’t one of the more multicultural cities in Germany - I think there was one sushi restaurant which he went to - but that just shows how adaptable he is because it was still easy it was for him to settle on and off the pitch. I think it’ll be much easier for him in Manchester after two years in Dortmund, and that’s another reason why United were keen on him; there’s no question mark over him which you might get when buying a player straight from Asia. It was the same with Ji-sung Park; after playing in Holland he found it easy to make the move to England.
Which parts of his game suggest he can adapt to the Premier League?
All parts. His attitude is just phenomenal on and off the pitch. He’s a guy everyone loves; nobody has a bad