TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan forward Shinji Kagawa believes his pre-season move to Manchester United will make him a better player as he was mobbed on arrival for Wednesday’s friendly against Venezuela.
‘Kagawa fever’ hit the northern city of Sapporo as the 23-year-old swept through the airport lobby, fans and television cameras jostling to get near the Japan playmaker.
Asian champions Japan face Venezuela as part of their preparations for the September 11 World Cup qualifier against Iraq with tickets for the game at Sapporo Dome already sold out.
Kagawa’s every move has been documented by the Japanese media since his 17 million euro (13.39 million pounds) transfer from Borussia Dortmund to United in June.
"The level is very high (at United)," Kagawa, who has impressed during the side’s pre-season games, told Tuesday’s Nikkan Sports newspaper.
"You’re playing everyday in an environment which spurs you on," said Kagawa, who has quickly formed a good understanding with England striker Wayne Rooney.
"I’m enjoying life off the pitch too," he added. "Physically I have no problems and I’m looking forward to putting in a good performance for Japan."
Japan overpowered Oman 3-0 and Jordan 6-0 at home before being held 1-1 in Australia in June in their first three games in the final round of Asian 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
(Reporting by Alastair Himmer; Editing by John O’Brien)
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