Opinion: Luke Shaw has a future at Manchester United

Opinion: Luke Shaw has a future at Manchester United

There is a lot of speculation about Luke Shaw's future at the moment, but his future is in his hands

Craig Millar

There is plenty of speculation about Luke Shaw's future right now. There shouldn't be, unless the player himself has no desire to fight for his place at Manchester United.

He is a talented 21-year old English International that cost around £30 million. Where is the problem?

The problem is, his fee was probably inflated due to a lot of competition for his signing. Additionally, he hasn't performed as well as he could have and finally, he has had to overcome a major setback with an horrific injury.

His first season at United could be described as ok at best. He was good in some games, ok in most.

One of his biggest strengths is going forward on the overlap. Under Louis van Gaal, the style of play hindered him. United passed for the sake of passing, and the opportunities to isolate the opposing full back were few and far between, because the opposition had men back in numbers.


Shaw's injury may have affected him

Still, his defensive play was not exactly as you would have expected. There were question marks over his fitness, but he worked extremely hard to get in shape during the pre-season and he was outstanding before suffering a terrible leg break against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League.

Recovering from such an injury is not easy. It is possible, though. Bryan Robson broke his leg three times in one season as a youngster whilst at West Bromwich Albion. He came back, and didn't have a bad career. Maybe the mental aspect is more difficult to overcome than the physical.

Shaw has been alright when he has appeared for United this season, though didn't pull up trees. At least, it has looked that way. Against Watford, he was heavily criticised by José Mourinho for his part in the killer third goal. It was unfair.

He did fail to close down his opponent in possession. Yet when the ball got played inside, Paul Pogba was like a statue and Marouane Fellaini was also sleeping to allow the crucial ball in to cut United apart.

Still, mistakes, however minor are there to be scrutinised. Mourinho has always been protective of players, but he is showing a slightly different side. Nobody, apart from Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimović, are exempt from criticism or the axe.

Mourinho questioned attitude

Shaw pulled out of the away fixture against Swansea with an injury that he declared. The extent of the injury is unknown, but it irked Mourinho further, and he questioned his ability to go through the pain barrier. So attitude is in question.

If Shaw's attitude is not a problem, then there is no problem. He has a lot of talent. He is quick, can tackle, and he is a great foil going forward. He has more to his game at full back than Daley Blind, but he has to show it.

And he has to show it in training, or he won't get many opportunities to fulfil his potential at Old Trafford.

When asked about Shaw's absence for the St Etienne game, Mourinho was adamant that Blind, Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian are doing more than Shaw and deserve their place. They all have to wait for opportunities also. It is hard to argue with the coaches assessment.

Shaw has to respond

Mourinho has been harsh on several players this season, and some have left the club. Yet it is done to drive them on. It is done with the intention of provoking a response. Henrikh Mkhitaryan responded, and so too did Anthony Martial. Shaw has to also.

Mourinho admitted that Shaw has many qualities that he likes when questioned this week. Indeed, he was one of Shaw's suitors when at Chelsea. Yet unless you show it in training and during game time, then you will not get game time.

Mourinho is setting the bar high, and most are responding. The talent Luke Shaw has means he has a United future and Mourinho would welcome that. The ball has been placed firmly in Shaw's court, and it is up to him to salvage his United career. It is not beyond him.