Already qualified for the 2014 World Cup, Shinji Kagawa and his Japan team mates played two low-key friendlies against Serbia and Belarus over the last week.
Japan lost both games, 2-0 to Serbia on Friday night followed by a 1-0 loss to Belarus in two very underwhelming matches for the Blue Samurai.
Kagawa played all but four minutes of the two international friendlies and by all accounts the Manchester United attacker was rather disappointing.
Predictably, Kagawa has linked his form for Japan with the much publicised lack of playing time under David Moyes at Manchester United.
Saying: “There’s a matter of fitness and there’s also that atmosphere of playing for my country. It’s different from the atmosphere at United, but you still get a good feel for being on the pitch when you play regularly.”
Kagawa added: “”Maybe it’s because I’m not used to being on the pitch of late, but I didn’t feel like I was able to enter these two games properly. During tough times like these I have to improve myself. Personally, I felt strongly after these two matches (against Serbia and Belarus) that I need to play more and, as a team, there are many things we need to do.”
Shinji Kagawa’s individual highlights against Serbia and Belarus are on the videos below.