you maybe don’t have time to worry about him because he’s already outsmarted you. That’s the kind of stuff he does. He doesn’t run at people. He’s not a real winger. For Japan he plays out wide, but always with a constant view to cut in, and for Dortmund his best role was as a fairly free second striker in a more forward attacking role. He found space a lot of times on the left, would pop up on the right and he’s really good at what he does.
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