A great deal of exhilaration was sensed amongst the Manchester United faithful when Luke Shaw was pictured holding a Red shirt for the first time in 2014. By the time, other than stimulating from the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson only a year back, United had several other vexations to work upon. And one of them was to replace an ageing left-back, Patrice Evra.
Thus the signing of Luke Shaw was rightly eulogized amongst the admirers. Then working under the expertized counsel of Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton, Shaw had performed out of his skin. At a tender teenage, he was there challenging the best hence earning a big money move up north (to Manchester United) was a no-brainer.
Branded by many as a perfect heir to Patrice Evra, Shaw’s Manchester United tenure has been a rather underwhelming one, to say the least. Injuries, criticism from the managers, inconsistency and failure of getting into his previous self has been a highlight of Shaw’s United career thus far.
If you think Mourinho is the first manager to censure Shaw, then you need to remember the time when van Gaal decided to drop him after branding him as an overweight. In all fairness, Luke Shaw’s timeline of being a Manchester United player has largely been a gloom-ridden. Ever since his rehabilitation from that horrific double-leg injury, he has struggled to get minutes let alone getting a place in the first team.
He might have thought the arrival of Jose Mourinho would end all his horrors, but little did he know that there was more criticism coming his way. In an ideal scenario or let’s brand it as ‘modern day football’, a player would either hand in a transfer request or criticize the manager to an extent that he would transact a move. Worst case scenario, he would go AWOL.
So when Mourinho was still on his criticizing spree, accusing him of an underdeveloped footballing brain, Shaw was gulping all the bane and was preventing himself from all the adverse circumstances by training doggedly; sometimes with the team or sometimes even alone. He has been dropped for unknown reasons in the past and has even been disparaged intensely that might break one’s resolve. But the only thing he kept doing was to swedge for his place.
Let me just ask you this; can you imagine any modern footballer enduring a similar tenure and showing a similar resilience as Shaw? In all fairness, an attitude like this is a rarity in modern football. Cases like these were only made possible back in time when the clubs made players; something which is extremely contrary right now.
There’s an old saying; “Respect is earned, not given” and for Shaw, he has merited it in the best way possible. Ask yourself; did he criticize his manager? No, he actually thanked Mourinho for whatever he endured.
|Player||Team||Dribbles Attempted||Dribbles Success Rate|
|Luke Shaw||Man United||6||100|
|Patrick van Aanholt||Crystal Palace||8||75|
|Arthur Masuaku||West Ham||9||66.67|
|Aaron Wan-Bissaka||Crystal Palace||9||66.67|
|Ryan Fredericks||West Ham||8||50|
|Benjamin Mendy||Man City||9||44.44|
“I think he got frustrated with me because he knew I could do better,” Shaw said on how he was treated by the United manager. “When I look back, maybe he was right.
“It was a tough few years but it made me stronger mentally. I wanted to prove to him I could do what he said I couldn’t. I had a chat with the manager before the season and he said he wanted me to stay. I’ve matured. You could say I’ve gone from a kid to a man. I know what I need to do to push myself. I want to play for Manchester United, stay there and prove my worth to the team.”
In a rather underwhelming season for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho thus far, a certain Luke Shaw has garnered a pragmatic appraisal from not just the club’s faithful, but from the adversaries as well. And you just cannot squabble over it. Passing over the all the negatives is never an easy task, but Shaw has highlighted one major trait by his attitude; one needs to be mentally strong to succeed at big clubs.
What next you ask? Anthony Martial, maybe…