Why Luke Shaw's Manchester United career at a standstill
When Premier League giants Manchester United signed youngster Luke Shaw from Southampton in 2014, it was expected to be a match made in heaven. With the promise he showed at Southampton, the Old Trafford club looked to have found a long-term prospect who could take over from former United star Patrice Evra and make the position his own.
Things have not worked according to plans, though, as Shaw’s progression at Old Trafford has been a series of shortcomings, and his future at the club looks bleak. The 22-year-old England international is in his 4th season at the Mancunian club and has gone on to make just 48 appearances for the side during this period.
Injuries and lacklustre performances have overshadowed his brilliance that was seen in flashes under former manager Louis van Gaal. Shaw suffered two major injuries that kept him out for long periods, and this season too, he has managed just 45 minutes for the senior team after recovering from a long-term injury.
After a handful of appearances for the reserves, many expected him to regain his fitness and form, but it is the inconsistency that has hindered his progress so far this season. Against West Ham United U-23 side recently, the player failed to assert his authority and it didn't go well with the fans as they complained about his attitude. Many believe the player's time at Old Trafford is coming to an end.
Manager Jose Mourinho has plenty of options at left-back; Daley Blind being the first choice, and makeshift players for the position such as Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young. Also, there is Marcos Rojo -- currently sidelined with an injury -- who is a solid player and can be deployed at left-back. This makes Shaw’s case difficult, and if performances don’t improve, he is likely to be shipped out in January to avoid losing him for free next summer.
Jose Mourinho has criticised Shaw in the past, and this term, he stated that the youngster needs time, and isn’t anywhere near other players in the squad in terms of fitness. The Portuguese challenged Shaw to work harder in order to earn a place in the first team. The agony lies with the player being criticised for not showing enough hunger and motivation.
Jose has rotated players this season in the left-back position and so far nobody has cemented a place. There is a glimpse of hope for the former Saints starlet to start afresh and wait for his opportunity. But performances such as against West Ham in a reserve game serves as a stumbling block. The manager shipped out several players that did not fit in his plans last season and Shaw will hope to prevent such a scenario given that he is still just 22.
With the FIFA World Cup in Russia next year, Shaw's prospect of finding a place in the squad looks uncertain and he has little time to fix it. Fans are hoping to see his potency that was witnessed under LVG in the 2015-16 season before a double-leg fracture in the Champions League cut short his campaign.
For now, Shaw has no place in the side, and he needs to show Mourinho that he has the fight in him so that he gets his opportunity. In failing to do so, his career in Manchester is destined to meet a dead end sooner rather than later.