United's new signing Hinata Miyazawa is ready to take the WSL by storm

Man United’s new signing Hinata Miyazawa was a late bloomer… but after winning the Women’s World Cup Golden Boot, the Japan star is ready to take the WSL by storm

  • World Cup top scorer Hinata Miyazawa signed for Manchester United last week
  • The Japanese superstar won the Golden Boot at the recent Women’s World Cup
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast It’s All Kicking Off! 

It’s been a whirlwind two months for Manchester United’s new signing Hinata Miyazawa.

Five goals in four games saw Japan’s attacking midfielder win the golden boot at this summer’s World Cup, an achievement which resulted in her move to the Women’s Super League.

Little was known about Miyazawa before the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

She was plying her trade in WE League – the professional division in Japan – and scored just one goal in 20 games in the 2022-2023 season.

But her performances on the international stage caught the attention of clubs across Europe.

Japan’s Hinata Miyazawa signed for Manchester United last week after a stunning World Cup

Miyazawa was close to a move to rivals Liverpool before United came in with a better offer

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Miyazawa is understood to have been close to a move to Liverpool before United came in with a better offer. The Red Devils’ qualification for the Champions League is also understood to have been a motivating factor.

At the age of 23, Miyazawa is something of a late bloomer but her talent and potential has always been present.

It was at Seisa Kokusai High School where Miyazawa first showed signs of brilliance on the football pitch. In 2016, at the age of 15, she was selected to be part of Japan’s team for the U17 World Cup, where they finished second.

She was then the star performer in the Japan team that won the U20 World Cup in 2018 and that same year was given her full senior debut – a few weeks before her 18th birthday.

Unsurprisingly, Miyazawa had a number of offers from clubs in Japan upon leaving school. The midfielder signed with reigning champions Tokyo Verdy Beleza but with the condition that she could continue her education alongside football.

Women’s football was still not fully professional in Japan at this time and Miyazawa decided she wanted to have multiple career options so enrolled to study medical science at the prestigious Hosei University in Tokyo.

After two years with Beleza, Hinata was offered a contract by Mynavi Sendai upon the creation of the WE League – the first fully professional division in Japan – in 2021. Miyazawa accepted and completed the rest of her degree remotely.

The 23-year-old won the Golden Boot at the Women’s World Cup with five goals

She scored four goals in three group stage matches and one in the Round of 16 for Japan 

Miyzawa’s stats for Sendai do not immediately jump out as impressive. One goal last season, three the campaign before. But her club’s style of play compared to Japan’s international set-up differs greatly.

Sendai were seen as a team that sat deep with the aim of catching teams on the counter-attack. 

Prior to the World Cup, Japan had played a front three that had been largely ineffective in producing goals. 

But a tweak in system by manager Futoshi Ikeda saw Mina Tanaka play as a deeper centre forward, creating space for Miyazawa to exploit on the left wing.

One of Miyazawa’s strengths is her pace and she regularly caused opposition teams at the World Cup problems by latching on to through balls.

Japan were ultimately knocked out by Sweden in the quarter-finals in Auckland

She also seemed to develop a confidence in front of goal that had perhaps been lacking prior to the tournament, which United boss Marc Skinner will hope she will carry with her at the start of the WSL season.

The key will be how United opt to use Miyazawa. They have signed Brazilian forward Geyse from Barcelona and she has experience of playing with talented wide players such as Caroline Graham Hansen and Fridolina Rolfo.

The onus may be on Ella Toone to be creator in the No 10 role behind a possible front three of Geyse, Miyazawa and Leah Galton. Toone managed eight assists in the WSL last season and will be key to supplying United’s new forwards with service.

Skinner will no doubt give Miyazawa time to adapt to her new surroundings but her success Down Under has already done much to raise expectations among United fans that she can be a key difference maker in both the league and Europe this season.


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

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