Manchester United boss David Moyes insists Shinji Kagawa is still in his plans and wants him to have the chance to play his way into a more permanent role despite substituting him at halftime against West Brom on Saturday.
The 24-year-old Kagawa, who netted six goals in 20 league appearances last season, made his first Premier League appearance of the campaign in a shock 2-1 loss to Steve Clarke's side. His return to top-flight action was cut short, though, as 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj replaced him at the break, but Moyes suggested that the change was tactical.
"We want Shinji to feel that he's getting an opportunity to show what he can do," Moyes said. "Arguably, his best position may be No. 10, but I think for Japan he plays in the same position we're playing him just now.
"So it's not something which is strange to him or not his position, but there's a lot of competition here and what we want is the competition to push each other on to get performances and improve."
United's start to the season has the club in 12th place in the table, but the club's next test comes in the Champions League on Wednesday, when it faces Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.