The United left-back has been exposed to criticism since his move from Southampton in 2014. Shaw had a bright start to his career at United which was short lived after suffering a double fracture to his right leg. The 23-year-old was treated on the pitch for 10 minutes during Manchester United’s defeat to PSV Eindhoven after Hector Moreno’s horrendous tackle in the first half, a tackle that amazingly went unpunished. Since then the Englishman has struggled to find his form for both club and country.
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There is a lot of competition throughout the United ranks and it is hard work reaching the starting XI. Shaw was able to complete a full pre-season with Mourinho after not being included in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad – which gave him plenty of time get himself in shape to impress this season.
Shaw sacrificed part of his holidays to embark on a fitness camp in Dubai with United’s head of fitness and conditioning coach, Gary Walker. His choice paid dividends as the 23-year-old topped all fitness tests throughout pre-season and performing admirably in games.
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The former Southampton man was stuck behind Ashley Young for the majority of last season. But with the 33-year-old reaching the semi-final of the World Cup, Shaw was given the opportunity to start the opening game of the season, and he certainly took it.
United secured all three points when Shaw scored his first ever senior goal making it 2-0 in the 80th minute. The performance reflected his fantastic attitude towards football which has been missing since his injury. The left-back didn’t stop running for the full 90 minutes and was fully deserving of his goal.
The 23-year-old was unhappy with his treatment from Mourinho last season and the United manager even went public with his criticism of the left-back. But Shaw has started the season brightly and Mourinho has recognised the defender’s improvements during a private chat with the players after the game, on Friday night, he also praised him publicly.
“I am very pleased for Luke Shaw. He made one mistake in 90 minutes, he was very good defensively. He had a good pre-season.”
Manchester United travel down to the south-coast to face Brighton and Hove Albion today who lost 2-0 on the opening day. Luke Shaw has every right to be feeling confident about the game, but will he make the starting XI ahead of Ashley Young for two games running? I for one, hope he does.