Shinji Kagawa has pleaded with Japan fans not to compare his international performances with the Premier League form he has shown at Manchester United.
The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder moved to Old Trafford at the start of last season and enjoyed a promising debut campaign, despite being kept out for two months through injury.
However, the 24-year-old’s showings for his national side have led many supporters and pundits to make an unfavourable comparison between his international and club form – something Kagawa has warned against.
"Playing for club and country are two very different things and you shouldn't always compare them," Kagawa told reporters.
Japan lost 3-0 to Brazil in their Confederations Cup opener on Saturday and Kagawa has called for an improved performance against Italy on Wednesday.
"We have to get ourselves in order and play as a team tomorrow," he said. "As for myself, I want to be aware of what I didn't demonstrate [against Brazil] and bring that to the pitch."
Japan are bottom of Group A after their opening day defeat, while Italy are second after beating Mexico 2-1.