Soccer

Kagawa shines with hat trick for United

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MANCHESTER, England (AP)

Manchester United fans arrived at Old Trafford ready to hail Ryan Giggs, but left with the name of another midfielder on their lips.

Shinji Kagawa made a strong start to his first season at United, but a knee injury sustained in a Champions League match in October kept the Japan international out for two months and left him scratching around for form.

He was back with a bang on Saturday.

Kagawa became the first Asian player to score a hat trick in the English Premier League as he guided the league leaders to a 4-0 win over Norwich.

''It was a brilliant day for him,'' said United manager Alex Ferguson, who spent 12 million pounds ($18 million) to bring Kagawa from German champion Borussia Dortmund in the offseason.

All three of the goals came from composed finishes, his first on the stroke of halftime a measured volley inside the near post to put United on its way. Kagawa then wrong-footed Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn in the 76th after running onto Rooney's pass and he chipped Bunn to complete his hat trick three minutes from time.

The 23-year-old Kagawa had scored only twice for United before Saturday and Ferguson said he expects more from him next season.

''He is a good finisher,'' Ferguson said. ''His second goal was composed and intelligent, his last was brilliant.

''He missed that period of football in October and November that set him back a bit. He is gradually getting his form back but next year he will be far better, you will see a really good player then.''

United defender Rio Ferdinand, who didn't play against Norwich, took to Twitter to praise Kagawa and his ''2 silky feet.''

Despite his exploits, Kagawa is unlikely to be retained in United's team for Tuesday's Champions League match against Real Madrid having started with midfielders Nani, Ashley Young and Tom Cleverley on the bench for the Norwich game.

Giggs wasn't even in the matchday squad on Saturday but will return against Madrid, where he will make his 1,000th senior competitive appearance, taking in club and country.

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