Luke Shaw has had a mixed journey as a Manchester United player. He joined from Southampton as the then most expensive teenager in world football, but failed to match the high expectations on him, owing to a horrendous injury. Since then, the 22-year-old has been plagued with rusty form and more injuries, handicapping him from making a lasting impact, particularly under Jose Mourinho.
However, from early September itself, the player has been match-fit, but hasn’t been employed by Mourinho at all, save for a stint during the Red Devils’ win over Burton Albion in their EFL Cup defense. This decision could end up frustrating the young English defender, but ex-United star Rio Ferdinand reckons there’s a valid reason behind the Portuguese boss’ antics.
Whilst speaking on BT Sport the club legend claimed: “It looks like he is testing them mentally. Hit them with something – are you going to stay down or are you going to get up and fight? If you get up then he says yes, that’s the type of man I want in my team.”
He continued: “As players, that’s what you want in your team. You don’t want players who will get one hit and shy away from things. One bad pass in a game, shy away from taking the ball again for the next 10 or 15 minutes… that’s not how you win titles.”
Ferdinand himself had quite an illustrious stint with the English giants, and certainly knows a thing or two about good gameplay. He further added: “You need players who are going to be brave receiving the ball, not just physically but mentally, and saying whatever happens here going forward, I will be with you guys shoulder to shoulder.”
In the regard of Shaw, this echoes what Mourinho himself stated: “He has to work. He has to improve. Luke had surgery and a long time without playing. I cannot expect him to be back and strong, strong, strong in his work.”
With a host of fixtures being lined up for the club after the international break, the player will certainly have ample chances to prove his worth and make an impact. If he has to do that, though, the young full-back will have to make the most of every minute he gets, however little that might be.
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.