Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has praised the impact made by new signing Shinji Kagawa, who scored his first goal for the club in a 1-0 friendly win against Shanghai Shenhua on Wednesday.
Attacking midfielder Kagawa joined United from Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund in a £17 million deal last month and has already made an impression.
The Japan international, who scored 13 goals in 31 Bundesliga games as Dortmund won a league and cup double last term, landed the man of the match award at Shanghai Stadium after capping an influential display with the winning goal.
“His awareness of receiving the ball, his speed in turning and how he attacks defenders is an asset to us,” Ferguson told MUTV. “He’s going to be a really good player, and he impressed.
“He was man of the match and he deserved that. He took his goal quite well, although it was a deflection. It was good work by Bebe, too, who set it up for him.”
Kagawa played down his impact on United’s pre-season tour of Asia and said he was focused on hitting top form when the Premier League campaign begins and some of United’s star names return.
“I’m happy that I scored, but we weren’t playing against a top opponent,” the 23-year-old said. “Once our internationals return, I’ll be able to play at a higher level.”
Shanghai went into the prestigious pre-season game without star names Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba, and were outplayed for long spells. United squandered a number of decent chances before Kagawa scored halfway through the second half.
United were a cut above for the most part, and their attacking threat improved when they brought on Bebe at the break. Having scored against Ajax Cape Town at the weekend, Bebe hugged the left flank and had great success against the Shanghai right back.
On two occasions, he drew decent saves from the keeper before turning provider for Kagawa to net. After streaking past his man, he showed awareness to pick out Kagawa who fired home with the help of a deflection.
Bebe was criticised for his displays last season following his move from Vitoria de Guimaraes and was farmed out on loan to Besiktas – but on the evidence of his pre-season efforts he looks a different player. He almost capped a fine 45-minute cameo with an audacious drive from around 40 yards that forced a fine diving save from the ‘keeper.