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Sat Apr 19 16:48:00 SAST 2014

Giggs backs Kagawa to be Man United's Euro star

Sapa-AFP | 18 September, 2012 14:530 Comments
Manchester United Training & Press Conference
Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United looks on during a training session at Carrington training ground on September 18, 2012 in Manchester, England
Image by: Michael Regan / Getty Images

Ryan Giggs has backed Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa to play a key role in Manchester United’s bid for Champions League glory this season.

Giggs believes Kagawa’s astute passing and clever movement make him the perfect fit for the possession game that United manager Sir Alex Ferguson likes to use in Europe.

Giving the ball away too often against Europe’s top sides can be fatal, but Kagawa has already proved adept at retaining possession in tight situations since his pre-season move to United from German champions Borussia Dortmund.

That will be an invaluable asset in the Champions League and veteran United midfielder Giggs expects Kagawa to make a big impact on the continent’s elite club competition, starting with Wednesday’s Group H opener against Turkish side Galatasaray at Old Trafford.

“Shinji is that kind of player who will thrive in Europe, where possession is key,” Giggs said.

“He keeps the ball and gets into positions where he is hard to pick up.” 

Kagawa was rested for Saturday’s 4-0 win over Wigan in the Premier League in an attempt to keep him fresh for Galatasaray’s visit, as was Dutch striker Robin van Persie, and Giggs believes both are ready to shine against the Turks.

“Robin has the experience of playing in Europe with Arsenal,” Giggs added.

“The goals he has got will hopefully give us that extra edge this season.

“I am sure they will both be very good additions in Europe for us.” 

After the embarrassment of crashing out of the Champions League at the group stage last season, United are determined to make amends this term.

Ferguson’s team paid the price for taking their progress to the knock-out stages for granted last season after being drawn with Benfica, Basel and Otelul Galati.

If anything this season’s draw, which put United in a group with Galatasaray, Braga and CFR Cluj, looks even easier, but Giggs is adamant they won’t take anything for granted.

“We need to win our home games,” he said. “Usually 10 or more points gets you through, which means winning at home and trying to draw away.

“We didn’t manage it last year because we didn’t perform at Old Trafford the way we have done in the past.”

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