x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Confederations Cup: Shinji Kagawa aims to carry scoring streak for Japan

Star forward wants to emulate Manchester United teammates Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie by scoring consistently.

Japan's Shinji Kagawa will be under to score against Brazil in the absence of Keisuke Honda. Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters
Japan's Shinji Kagawa will be under to score against Brazil in the absence of Keisuke Honda. Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters

Shinji Kagawa is aiming to build on his momentum when he leads Japan at the Confederations Cup.

Kagawa made a solid start this season at Manchester United, but a knee injury sustained in October kept him out for two months.

The attacking midfielder, who scored 21 goals over two seasons with Borussia Dortmund, displayed that type of scoring potential with a hat-trick in United's 4-0 win against Norwich City on March 2.

"I wasn't satisfied with my overall performance but I played well in the second half of the season and started to get more and more confidence," Kagawa, 24, said.

"Hopefully, I can keep that going."

With influential midfielder Keisuke Honda injured, Kagawa knows he will be under pressure to produce in Brazil.

"In this business, you need to be like [Wayne] Rooney or [Robin] van Persie and prove yourself if you want the ball," he said. "I want to be a player like them, which means I need results."

Japan at a glance

Fifa world ranking 32

Qualified as Asian champions

Best Confederations Cup result runners-up 2001

Other major honours Asian champions: 1992, 2000, 2004, 2011

Coach Alberto Zaccheroni

Prospects There is something quite fitting about Japan opening the Confederations Cup tournament against the hosts Brazil on Saturday as they became the first nation to qualify for next year’s World Cup finals, last week. Their Italian coach, Alberto Zaccheroni, said it was no longer enough for Japan to be satisfied with playing in the World Cup; he wants them to make an impression. The Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa summed up the feeling when he added: “We have a lot of talented players but we need to show more determination and willpower.”

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