After a strong first season at United, Kagawa has been forced to endure a reduced role at the Premier League champions under new manager David Moyes:
Shinji Kagawa has voiced renewed concerns over his lack of first-team football at Manchester United by claiming his reduced role at Old Trafford is affecting his international form with Japan.
The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder has made just one Premier League appearance this season, with manager David Moyes initially claiming that the 24-year-old’s disrupted pre-season programme has left Kagawa battling to rediscover match fitness.
That story has since changed, with Moyes stating that tactical reasons were behind Kagawa's persistent absences from the starting lineup at Old Trafford this season. During United's 2-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion in their last home game, Kagawa was hauled off at half-time.
However, after featuring for Japan in their two friendlies against Serbia and Belarus, the 24-year-old has claimed he is feeling the affects of being in and out of the United team:
There's a matter of fitness and there's also that atmosphere of playing for my country . It's different from the atmosphere at United, but you still get a good feel for being on the pitch when you play regularly.
Maybe it's because I'm not used to being on the pitch of late, but I didn't feel like I was able to enter these two games properly.
That will no doubt alert United fans as to the future of the Japan international, especially as he is still adored and loved at his former club.
Borussia Dortmund fans—the club Kagawa left to move to United in 2012—recently launched a viral campaign to "free" the Japanese star, with supporters taking to social media to use the hashtag "#freeshinji."
It seems that all Kagawa's comments will do, however, is renew concerns that his future lies away from United, despite a strong start to his career in a red shirt.
Are Kagawa's days at United numbered? Would you like to see David Moyes give him a chance? Get involved with the discussion below.