Jose Mourinho as soon as (in)famously declared that Luke Shaw wanted “His physique with my mind” to get via a match. After a season touching upon perfection, it’s fairly clear that this line of thought is – and possibly at all times was – wildly misplaced.
Manchester United Gamers’ Participant of the Yr, PFA Staff of the Yr, England’s first-choice left-back…the adulation has are available in many types and all of it’s completely deserved.
None of this may have come as an enormous shock to the numerous followers and pundits who’ve at all times believed in Shaw’s apparent potential. He’s performed like this earlier than, simply not with fairly the identical consistency.
Is it right down to his new-found maturity? Competitors within the type of Alex Telles? Modifications in weight-reduction plan, life-style, or teaching? Maybe it’s the calming presence of Harry Maguire on his facet of the defence, or taking part in underneath a supervisor who values an arm across the shoulder over the general public broadside?
The probabilities are it’s a mixture of all of these issues however, regardless of the cause, he’s now established himself as among the finest left-backs in England and past. After the harm troubles, criticisms and doubts, it’s been extremely gratifying to witness his emergence as a grasp of his craft.
Actually, there’s little or no room for enchancment. In case you had been decided to search out fault, you would possibly counsel that he might shoot extra usually, as he’s truly acquired a really excessive accuracy share, with six of 11 photographs hitting the goal. One purpose isn’t an enormous return however it got here within the derby, so is the equal of 5 objectives in much less dramatic circumstances – making him a real hotshot.
Attacking: United’s left facet is among the most potent within the league and Shaw’s rampaging attacking play was an enormous think about that. His overlaps had been a relentless headache for opposition defences and the numbers spotlight simply how useful had been his attacking contributions. He created an eye catching 72 probabilities over the course of the season, second solely to Trent Alexander-Arnold, who doesn’t present something like the identical defensive stability.
He additionally chipped in with 5 important assists, making him one of the crucial productive left-backs within the nation.
Stability: It might be cheap to count on that Shaw’s rediscovered attacking menace would come on the expense of defensive solidity. Nevertheless, his improved health permits him to get again shortly sufficient to plug gaps left by his personal attacking runs. Whether or not bombing ahead so as to add width or shackling opposition attackers, Shaw struck the right stability.
Consistency: Though he began slowly, he discovered peak kind round December and saved it going till Might. Even ‘Mr Consistency’ himself, Denis Irwin, can be impressed by Shaw’s effervescence and reliability.
From attacking to defending, Luke Shaw has hardly put a foot improper all season. Stable positionally, decisive within the deal with, respectable within the air, a fast and frequent attacking risk…he’s proven all of it.
His return to England prominence is a well-merited reward for the exhausting work and willpower that has seen him turn into an nearly excellent instance of the modern-day full-back.
If he can keep away from accidents and keep his efficiency ranges, it received’t be lengthy earlier than he’s being spoken about in the identical reverent tones as former United greats Denis Irwin and Patrice Evra. He’s genuinely been that good.