Why Luke Shaw Deserves His New Contract at Manchester United
It was announced this week that Luke Shaw had agreed a five-year contract extension with Manchester United. Such was his fate just six months ago, Shaw’s turnaround at the Red Devils has been nothing short of inspirational.
Signed by Louis van Gaal in his first year at the helm of United, Shaw came to Old Trafford from the Southampton academy. After, in his own words, underestimating the step up from the Saints to Man United, Shaw struggled initially to show his true capabilities with plenty pointing out that he might be carrying some unnecessary timber.
Muscle and tendon injuries to Shaw and halted his progress in van Gaal’s first season. After going away with a personal trainer with Adnan Januzaj in the post-season, Shaw reinvigorated his passion for the game and needed to prove to the fans and club that he was worth, at the time, the most expensive fee paid for a teenager in the world.
Shaw’s start to the 2015/16 season could not have gone better. Bombarding forward in a similar fashion to what caught United’s scouts’ attention initially, Shaw provided a different dimension to the club’s stagnant attack at the time.
Unfortunately, he suffered a double leg fracture one month into the season against PSV Eindhoven and was ruled out through injury for the rest of the campaign.
Shaw vs Mourinho
The next time Shaw was cleared to play, there was a completely different set up at Manchester United. Out went van Gaal and in came José Mourinho - a manager with a notorious reputation of preferring experience over youth. However, the Portuguese manager, at one time, wanted Shaw at Chelsea, to which the left back rejected.
Once again, Shaw started the season brightly, but for one reason or another, the relationship between the player and the manager completely disintegrated. After his first appearances in the Premier League, Shaw went on to only make six more for the rest of the campaign.
Such was a downturn in his fortunes at Old Trafford, Mourinho opted for Ashley Young in the left back role and rarely looked back. Albeit slight injury issues in that first season under Mourinho, Shaw was completely overlooked.
Perhaps feeling some effects from his leg break, and not willing to risk going into 50/50 challenges in the way he had done before, Shaw was completely ostracised from the start of the 2017/18 campaign. It was around this time last year when Shaw started to consider a future away from Manchester United.
At that point, he had around 18 months to run down on his contract, which was feasible, but he also needed to start playing to show potential suitors that he was still the same player as before injury.
What added fuel to the fire was when Mourinho openly said in January of this year that there were few left backs in world football better than Shaw at that current time.
Despite public backing from the manager, Shaw only featured in five Premier League games out of a possible 15, with three coming in the last three weeks of the season and nothing left to play for.
Shaw’s 2018 Turnaround
However, when some would have given up at that point and fled to a different club with a manager that had full faith in him, Shaw stuck around. The Saints academy graduate showed his persistence, desire and ambition to try and change his fortunes at the club, and he did just that.
After such a superb start to this season, one in which he scored his first ever professional goal, Shaw was recalled to the national team set up. Manchester United’s season has been hugely disappointing so far, but one of the only bright sparks has been Shaw’s development and prowess up and down the left-hand side. It appears that Mourinho is now beginning to fully trust him.
At the start of this campaign, Shaw made fans aware that he was not going to sign a new contract until he felt like he deserved one. He was not in it for the money, or to be used as United’s way of recouping the money initially spent on him in 2015.
His goal was to regain his position and status in both his club side and for his country. It has taken Shaw only two months to show his class on a consistent basis.
And so this week, Shaw has signed his well-deserved contract extension that sees him at the club until 2023. His performances - which have quite easily been the best by any player at the club - have been a breath of fresh air, with his mentality as strong as anything given what he has gone through in the last two years.
Shaw should be commended by all and will now look to helping drive his club and country forward.
Shaw’s Manchester United take on Chelsea this weekend at Stamford Bridge in a Premier League classic. The Red Devils are offered at 15/4 to go back up to Old Trafford with the three points with Coral.
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