Shinji Kagawa just needs to toughen up – then he will take the Premier League by storm – insists Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Japanese playmaker has struggled to adapt to life in England so far after making just 16 appearances in an injury-plagued season.
However, Ferguson is adamant Kagawa will come back stronger next campaign and prove why United shelled out up to £17million to whisk him away from Borussia Dortmund last summer.
"He's come from an environment that is completely different," Ferguson told manutd.com.
"I think the difference between German football and English football has been shown. In Germany you can't foul. It's foul after foul.
"The Premier League is completely different as there's physical contact in our game and it's different to Germany but, next year, he'll be better."
Kagawa came under fire from some quarters after failing to impose himself on the Champions League tie against Real Madrid last Wednesday.
But in a game of fine margins, Ferguson believes the 23-year-old was only a poor touch or two away from making a real impact.
"In the first half an hour he was terrific as he kept making these great runs through them, which we thought was going to be one of our biggest assets in the game,” the Scot explained.
"He was just unlucky that he had a couple of heavy touches on the ball when he made runs past Robin van Persie.
“He kept opening them up but people don't see that, which is a wee bit unfair, as he did really well for us in the first half."
Picture courtesy of thesportreview, with thanks.