Despite this being his third season as Manchester United player, there’s a sense that Luke Shaw is still finding his feet at Old Trafford. Fitness issues and the form of others meant his opportunities in his first season under Louis van Gaal were limited, and despite starting last season in excellent form, his campaign was tragically cut short after a horror tackle against PSV Eindhoven left him with a double leg break.
Thankfully, Shaw has returned to fitness, and the former Southampton star, who joined the club in the summer of 2014 is readjusting to life at United under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho. The England international hasn’t been a sure starter this term, and an injury earlier in the campaign meant Daley Blind has been deoutising at left back over the last few weeks, but his late introduction to Monday night’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield suggested that the Portuguese is ready to ease Shaw back into his plans.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference today ahead of Thursday’s Europa League meeting with Fenerbahce, Mourinho confined that Shaw will start the game at Old Trafford:
“I don’t want to give you the team. The only one who plays is Luke Shaw, who is coming here after.”
Shaw, who joined his manager on press conference duties offered the following:
“I had a problem with my groin from the Watford game but now I’m feeling good and ready for the game.”
He also offered this on United’s current progress:
“Right now we’re at the stage of getting better, but I think there’s so much more to come from everyone in the dressing room.”
After the year that Shaw has had, seeing and hearing him speak so clearly and positively about things is particularly encouraging. Lesser players may have struggled to deal with the psychological impact of the injury he suffered, but Shaw has shown incredible mental strength to deal with his rehabilitation, especially considering that he was unable to return to first team action last season.
If Shaw is able to recapture the blistering form he showed at the start of last term, then United will have a significant attacking threat on their hands on the left flank. Shaw’s pace and increased strength were big assets last term, and whilst there’s plenty of time for the England international to fully realise his potential, the expectation is that United have a very special player on their hands.