Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa ‘may make bench’ for City derby, but Nani and Antonio Valencia remain out

By Dean Wilkins

Shinji Kagawa is closing in on returning to Manchester United’s first-team after battling injury, and could even make the bench for the derby on Sunday.

The Japan playmaker has been out of action since October, after limping off during United’s 3-2 home win over SC Braga, but has rejoined his teammates in training.

And despite Wayne Rooney earning his ‘best performance of the season’ while helping to bolster United’s midfield against Reading, Sir Alex Ferguson is eager to welcome back the 23-year-old.

“Kagawa started running today and he may make the bench [against Manchester City],” said the Scot. “Obviously Nani and Valencia are still out and that’s why I played Rooney on wide right.

“I thought it was his best performance of the season. Against Cluj I’m picking a team without any thought of Manchester City. It’s a matter of who needs a game.”

Kagawa left the field after setting up Javier Hernandez to pull United back into the game after the Portuguese side took an unprecedented 2-0 first-half lead at Old Trafford.

And with Fergie often favouring to utilise a diamond formation and keep his opponents guessing, Kagawa’s return would come at an important time in the middle of the hectic festive fixture list.

United travel to bitter rivals and Premier League titleholders City on Sunday for the first meeting between the two of the season.

Picture courtesy of Yahoo UK, with thanks

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