Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa is hoping to send manager David Moyes a message with a key performance when Japan plays New Zealand in a World Cup warmup in Tokyo on Wednesday night.
Kagawa has hardly figured under Moyes since he took over the managerial reigns at Old Trafford from Alex Ferguson, but the former Dortmund star is determined to force his way into the team and knows he can only do that by delivering results.
“Of course it is important for a player to continue getting games, but there is not much I can do about my situation. It (regular soccer) is something that I won’t be able to gain unless I am delivering results,” Kagawa said after training Monday.
“I can’t change the situation I’m in, so to I want to turn it into something positive and do well (on Wednesday).”
Japan will be looking to start the World Cup year the same way it wrapped up 2013 in the last national team game at National Stadium before it is demolished and rebuilt for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Alberto Zaccheroni’s men enjoyed a strong finish to the year in 2013, drawing 2-2 with the Netherlands and beating Belgium 3-2 in away friendlies in November, results that Kagawa says have boosted confidence.
“We did really well on our last tour of Europe. We could take a lot of confidence from that and hopefully we can keep that kind of form going,” he said.
“It is difficult when there is such a big gap between games, but there is not much time before the World Cup and we have to just prepare well for the next game.”
Twenty players attended Monday’s training session, including Sagan Tosu’s Yohei Toyoda, who has been called up as cover for Cerezo Osaka striker Yoichiro Kakitani.
Both Gamba Osaka midfielder Yasuhito Endo and Inter Milan defender Yuto Nagatomo worked out separately from the main group.
The Japan Football Association said earlier in the day that Kakitani withdrew from the squad due to a fever.
AC Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda, Standard Liege goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and Stuttgart defender Gotoku Sakai are scheduled to arrive in Japan on Tuesday.
Japan plays Cyprus on May 27 before leaving for the World Cup finals in Brazil, where it has been drawn in the first round against Greece, Cote d’Ivoire and Colombia.
New Zealand failed to qualify for Brazil after losing to Mexico in a playoff.