It’s fair to say that Luke Shaw’s Manchester United career, all two-and-a-half years of it, hasn’t really gotten going yet. Purchased from Southampton in the summer of 2014, the English international arrived at the club in poor condition after his summer holidays, and was made to train separately by Louis van Gaal when the Dutchman had just taken over at the club. That put Shaw on the back foot for almost the entirety of his first season at the club, with Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind, also purchased in the same summer picked ahead of him at left back.
We’ll never know how successful his second season at the club might have been, of course, as it was famously curtailed by PSV Eindhoven’s Hector Moreno during a Champions League group stage clash last September. Shaw had started his second season in sparkling form, looking fit, strong and a lively threat down United’s left, but the double leg break sustained in Holland meant he didn’t play another minute of football that season.
Jose Mourinho has hardly made things easier for Shaw, either, with United’s new manager openly questioning his commitment to the United cause after Shaw pulled out of the squad to face Swansea City.
“What I mean is that we have players with problems, but we also have players on the pitch who have problems,” said the United boss after the 1-3 victory.
“I have friends from other sports, playing at the highest level. How many times do they play when they are not 100 per cent?
“I have a friend who is a big tennis player and he tells me that he remembers more times when he has played with pain than the times he has played without any pain.
“To compete, you have to work to the limits. It is a cultural thing, for some. But that’s not my culture.”
Shaw was said to be ‘baffled’ by the criticism, which appeared harsh given that Moreno’s challenge could easily have ended his career. Given that Mourinho appears less-than enamoured with him at this stage, Shaw has his work cut out in order to break back into his starting XI on a consistent basis, but at least, according to a video posted on his Instagram account, Shaw is keeping positive and working hard. That, given the defensive injuries that United are currently hampered by, will surely encourage Mourinho, who is still uncertain as to who should make up his starting defensive line.