Shinji Kagawa
Shinji Kagawa

Japanese forward Shinji Kagawa has indicated his reported back injury is not serious. The 23 year old playmaker did not play in his country's 1-0 World Cup qualifier win over Iraq. The former Borussia Dortmund player picked up the injury in a training session before the game.

"I felt a twinge in the back during practice when I was on the ball. I had some treatment but didn't want to risk causing the team trouble by playing. Obviously it's a shame I wasn't able to play... It's not that serious and I don't think it will keep me out for long," ESPN quoted the Manchester United star as saying.

Japan manager Alberto Zaccheroni left the player from the starting team but named him on the bench. However, Kagawa was not risked during the game and remained an unused substitute.

"He felt uncomfortable in his lower back in practice yesterday, and we decided to wait a night and see how it looked, but he's not at 100 per cent so we're leaving him off. He didn't go to the hospital," said a Japan Football Association official, according to

Robin van Persie
Netherlands' Robin van Persie (L) fights for a ball with Hungary's Roland Juhasz during their World Cup 2014 qualifying soccer match in Budapest

Louis van Gaal Plays Down van Persie Injury

Meanwhile, Holland coach Louis van Gaal explained United striker Robin van Persie's substitution at half time (during Holland's 4-1 win against Hungary) was a "precautionary measure".

Many believed the former Arsenal man was removed after suffering a serious injury while challenging for the ball with Hungary defender Roland Juhasz. However, van Gaal, while admitting an injury, dismissed it as being not serious.

"We took off Robin for precautionary measures. It doesn't seem to be too serious, but you never know. We didn't want to take any risks," the Guardian quoted van Gaal as saying.

The double injury blow to two new signings in excellent form will have left United boss Sir Alex Ferguson fuming. The Red Devils will next play Wigan Athletic on 15 September, before beginning their Champions League on 19 September against Turkish side Galatasaray. Both games will be at Old Trafford.

Finally, midfielder Darren Fletcher continues his comeback from a bowel injury with a United Reserves game against Stalybridge Celtic.