FOOTBALL NEWS

05/06/2012 09:00, Report by Adam Marshall
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Kagawa's career so far

Shinji Kagawa has emerged as one of Asia's top players and is the driving force in the Japanese national team.

The 23-year-old midfielder played a key role in Borussia Dortmund's Double-winning success in Germany and the Bundesliga champions were reluctant to allow him to leave. However, with only a year left on his contract, he decided to pursue a dream move to England, something that Dortmund accepted.

The German side spotted his potential whilst playing for Cerezo Osaka in his homeland as he was a regular in the team after signing professional forms before graduating from high school. In his final full season, he bagged 27 goals in 44 games and the step up to the J-League following promotion failed to blunt his goal output as he hit seven in 11 appearances.

A switch to Europe grew inevitable in 2010 and he soon became a crowd favourite at Dortmund after proving the €350,000 fee to be an absolute bargain.

Kagawa represented his country in the 2007 Under-20 World Cup in Canada and also the 2008 Olympics. The midfielder's full international debut was in a Kirin Cup match against Ivory Coast in 2008 but he missed out on a place in the World Cup squad two years later.

A metatarsal injury at the 2011 Asian Cup, after shining in the tournament, interrupted his progress but eight goals in 18 games was an impressive return domestically in the 2010/2011 season and he was named in the Bundesliga's Team of the Season despite being sidelined for a lengthy spell.

In the absence of Mario Gotze, he took over the mantle as a key performer for Dortmund as the club both retained the title and lifted and German Cup in some style last season. In addition to contributing 13 goals in the league, he scored three times in the German Cup.

Sir Alex Ferguson made a personal check on Kagawa's form in the final against Bayern Munich in Berlin, despite it coming only a day before United's last-day trip to Sunderland, and he netted the opening goal and dazzled in a convincing 5-2 win against the Champions League runners-up.

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