Friday, 9 February 2018

Shaw to sign new contract after rapid reversal of fortunes

Luke Shaw is set to commit his future to United with the left-back to sign a new long term deal at the club. That's a sentence I never thought I would find myself writing this time last year, when Shaw's career looked to be headed only one way - through the Old Trafford exit door. Frequently criticised by Jose for his lack of commitment and poor attitude, Shaw made only 16 appearances last term and was considered fifth choice behind Ashley Young, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian. 
Mourinho often lambasted the player in public, which is often seen as counter productive and not the way to go, but on this occasion it seems to have done the trick with Jose impressed by Shaw's efforts in training. Credit to Jose's man management, and the criticism of Shaw clearly spurred the player on to fight his way back into contention.
Once Mourinho has given up on a player, it's notoriously hard to win him back over so deserves massive credit in doing so.With a dearth of top quality left-backs at United and Young in his 30s, Shaw - still only 22 - has the potential to make the position his own in the years to come.

After his first start of the season against CSKA in December, he was promised more minutes by the manager, and has played the full 90 minutes in nine of United's 14 matches since then. Rojo, Blind and Darmian, three players which by his own admission Jose preferred over Shaw, have been usurped. Why they were ever ahead of him in the pecking order in the first place is beyond me, but now it's a straight fight between him and Young to get the nod on the left. With the Reds still fighting on three fronts, the pair look likely to be rotated between now and May.

Shaw has made twelve appearances this season, his third as a United player, and staying free of injury has undoubtedly been a huge factor in reversal of fortunes. He's look a real threat either as an out-and-out left back or a wing-back, and recent performances suggest he's close to recapturing the blistering start he enjoyed to his United career. Signed as the world's expensive teenager as a 19 year old from Southampton in 2014 for £27m, Shaw had a flying start to life at United, particularly in the 2015-16 season when he struck up a potent and prolific partnership with Memphis Depay. His horrible double leg break in a Champions League tie at PSV kept him out of the game for a year and he struggled, as any player would, to return to full fitness.

A combination of bad luck with injury, struggles with weight and fitness and the spats with Jose appeared to signal the end of his United career before it had even really begun - a huge letdown for a highly rated young player who arrived from St Mary's with such promise. His reversal of fortunes has ensured that won't be the case.

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