Kagawa sees Latvia as springboard


Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa will aim to get his club career going by making his first appearance for Japan on Wednesday since October.

Kagawa, who was absent for the Asian champions’ 2-1 away win to Oman in November with a left-knee injury, came home on Monday for the friendly against Latvia at Home’s Stadium after remaining on the bench in United’s 1-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Since returning from the injury Dec. 29, Kagawa has played for Alex Ferguson but has not scored. The Japanese international also has yet to put in a full shift at United, which is running away in the Premier League title race.

Kagawa wants to use the Latvia game as an agent for change as Alberto Zaccheroni’s side opens its 2013 campaign. Japan can book a spot in the 2014 World Cup with victory in its next qualifier on March 26 against Jordan in Amman.

“I hope this will serve as an opportunity to start turning things around,” Kagawa said.