Shinji Kagawa is expecting a tough assignment at Old Trafford tonight, against the team who introduced him to the rigours of English football.
The Japanese midfielder made his Manchester United debut in a floodlit fixture against Everton, in August 2012, but the setting then was Goodison Park and the opposition manager, David Moyes, has since become Kagawa's boss. Nevertheless, despite these significant differences, Shinji feels a similarly difficult match is in prospect after watching the fifth-placed Toffees in action recently.
"I watched their derby against Liverpool [3-3 draw at Goodison] and thought they were a good team technically and are very strong, particularly going forward," Kagawa told United Review, the official programme for this evening's match.
"Everton have a lot of experience and it’s going to be hard tonight but whoever we play, we need to impose our own game. I’m expecting a good, hard-fought match but we need to be calm and concentrate, no matter who we’re playing."
'Calm' seems to be a key word for Kagawa; it crops up again when he describes his feelings before that first outing against Everton."In the build-up to the game, I seem to remember feeling pretty calm and relaxed," he reflected.
"I don’t recall being too nervous or thinking 'this is the Premier League and it’s going to be tough'. But the game itself didn’t pan out well for us, of course.