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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Kagawa Making Waves

The most high-profile signing made by Manchester United in the summer transfer window was quite obviously Robin van Persie, and the former Arsenal striker inevitably captured the headlines with a goal on his debut, followed by a match-winning hat-trick at Southampton.

But Sir Alex Ferguson’s other, less-heralded summer signings have also made an immediate impact.

Fans betting on Champions League quickly warmed to their new marauding left back, Alex Buttner, who capped an all-action display with a fabulous solo effort against Wigan.

And Nick Powell, the 18-year-old midfielder from Crewe, also thumped in a goal in that game on his first appearance for the club.

But perhaps the most impressive contribution to Man United’s decent start to the season has come from Shinji Kagawa.

The ill-informed rolled their eyes when Ferguson signed Borrussia Dortmund’s playmaker, cynically assuming it was more to do with pleasing the Red Devils’ huge, lucrative Japanese fan base rather than actually bolstering United’s ageing midfield.

But Kagawa has very quickly demonstrated that he is the real deal; quick and imaginative with two good feet and with a first instinct to attack.

Early impressions are that he is a better player than Ji Sung Park (another who raised eyebrows when he was signed); the South Korean was also a massive influence on some of United’s biggest European nights.

Kagawa has an even better eye for goal (he scored 21 league goals in 49 appearances for Dortmund), but his value will surely now be more as an attacking midfielder who sets up United’s formidable strike force with his cute link-up play and clever use of space.

He has faded a little towards the end of his games for United so far, but that is to be expected, as he gets used to the pace of the Premier League. Kagawa already looks good and we have not seen the best of him yet.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rooney admits weight concerns

Wayne Rooney has revealed is his new book that he often returned to pre-season training with Manchester United over-weight and that is has been a constant battle throughout his career.

The England forward is currently recovering after suffering a deep gash to his thigh in the closing stages of United’s win over Fulham a fortnight ago.

Rooney had been dropped from the starting line-up for that game admits rumours of a bust-up with manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Scot then fired a coded warning to Rooney while talking to sport news reporters about his recovery from his latest injury, stressing that it was important he “went to the gym” while recovering and that his injury would not prevent him from doing so.

Now Rooney has admitted himself that he struggles with his weight and sticking to the strict dietary lifestyle laid down by the Barclays premier league giants.

Speaking about returning for duty with the Red Devils in 2009, Rooney wrote: "Early July: the first day back at pre-season training. I'm like most blokes, I put on a few pounds after a holiday.

“Even if I don't train for a week, I put on two or three, but when I get back to Carrington for the first day of work, I'm in for a shock. The scales in the club gym tell me I've put on a few more pounds than expected – seven. Seven!

"Then I remember – I drank a few bevvies while I was away. I'm stocky. I'm not like Ryan Giggs, all bone and lean muscle. But I gain weight quite easily.”

The news will be of concern for United fans, who need such a star player like Rooney to be performing at his peak.

It also makes you wonder how long a ruthless manager like Sir Alex Ferguson will stand for such fitness issues. The Scot has shown in the past that he shows not sentiment when it comes to replacing players in his squad and it could well be that Rooney becomes a sensational casualty of Ferguson’s Old Trafford re-building.