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"Shinji is a quality player but he is not the only one who is finding it hard to get regular football. There are many top players in the squad and there is plenty of competition."

– Andy Cole

 

03/03/2014 10:49, Report by James Tuck

Cole backs Shinji

Manchester United legend Andy Cole believes Shinji Kagawa should not be too downhearted about his recent shortage of game-time for the Reds.

Kagawa’s half-hour appearance in United’s Champions League defeat to Olympiacos was his first action for more than a month, while his last Barclays Premier League outing was the 2-0 win over Swansea on 11 January.

But Cole says the Japanese star is not the only player competing for his place in David Moyes’ team, and backed the attacker to make his mark again soon.

Treble-winner Cole speaks from experience, having had to accept spells out of the side himself during his Reds career, due to the wealth of forward options at the club. 

When asked about Kagawa at a club event in Tokyo, Cole said: "He is a quality player but he is not the only one who is finding it hard to get regular football. There are many top players in the squad and there is plenty of competition.

"But having seen Shinji play at Dortmund, I know for sure how good he is. He was the best player in Germany for two years. I believe he’ll come back with some good displays."

Cole says United should still target a Champions League spot with 11 league games to go.

"We need to win as many games as possible and a top-four finish is still a realistic target," he told ManUtd.jp.

"For whatever reason, it has been a tough season. But all the top teams will try to get better and we need to stay with them next year."

Cole was speaking in Tokyo during United’s Trophy Tour, delivered by DHL.

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