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Premier League: A make or break season for Luke Shaw at Manchester United

Manchester United Player of the Year Awards
Manchester United Player of the Year Awards
Modified 29 Jul 2019, 13:00 IST

Despite seeking improvements in various areas of Manchester United squad this summer, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is convinced of Luke Shaw's quality and hasn't targeted a left-back in the ongoing transfer window.

The 2018/19 campaign was Shaw's breakthrough season at Old Trafford, putting his incessant fitness issues behind. Former Southampton defender was adjudged Manchester United's Player of the Year. In the aftermath of winning the individual award, Luke sparked a debate regarding his candidature for the plaudit.

Shaw's 2018/19 season started on a right tone, scoring his maiden goal in professional football in United's first match of the Premier League campaign against Leicester City. The left-back's impressive club performances in the opening few months earned him his first England call up since March 2017.

However, United's disappointing season gradually translated into individual performances of Luke Shaw. Despite keeping himself fit, under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, the 24-year-old found it difficult to provide a consistent attacking outlet down the left side.

Eventually, Shaw tapered off towards the end of the season and his mediocre performances in the crucial league matches against Manchester City and Huddersfield Town were heavily criticised as well.

Therefore, the 2019/20 season is a very essential time in Luke Shaw's United career. The Englishman should be consistent for Red Devils next campaign, which could be Shaw's last chance to prove why the club forked out £30m to sign him from Southampton.

Transforming himself into an attacking outlet

Manchester United v Chelsea - Premier League
Manchester United v Chelsea - Premier League

Shaw's defensive numbers were remarkable last season, averaging 4.9 ball recoveries and 8.89 duels per league game. His 55 successful tackles were the most by a United player in 2018/19 Premier League outing. However, his returns going forward were far from impressive.

The England international showed glimpses of his attacking flair last season, most notably against Crystal Palace where his surging run assisted Romelu Lukaku's terrific finish. Although covering 9.98km per match, Luke registered just 4 assists in the Premier League- substantially low when compared to league's best full-back Trent Arnold, who managed 13.


Luke Shaw, in his 29 league appearances last season, managed just 52 crosses with an accuracy of 27%. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is most likely to occupy the right-back position for United. It is no secret that Wan-Bissaka is suspect going forward, which makes it essential for the left-back to step up in attacks.

Enhancing his fitness levels

Manchester United Pre-Season Tour - Day 16
Manchester United Pre-Season Tour - Day 16

Shaw made 40 appearances for United last season, his most in a single campaign for Manchester United. Despite keeping himself almost fit throughout the season, the left-back fizzled out towards the end.

The 24-year-old's weary performances against Huddersfield Town and Manchester City were enough to gauge his fitness levels. However, in order to thrive in Ole's heavy-pressing system, Shaw should commence the next season as fit as a flea.

Shaw suffered an injury scare in the pre-season game against Inter Milan, where he was subbed out in the first half. It turned out to be a minor issue which has been dealt with by the defender.


Also, Shaw's comments on last season prove that he will be up for it in the impending campaign. His quote read as follows:

"It was really tough for all of us to take and you couldn’t really enjoy your holidays,”
“You see the Champions League final and the Europa League final and they’re all English teams. It makes you feel even worse, and especially the way the finals went. None of us want that to happen again."
“For sure this season it will be a new United,”
“They [City and Liverpool] won’t have it as easy as last season. People are probably already doubting us but they can carry on doing that. We know what we are capable of doing and we will have a much better season. It will be a new United, especially with the new ideas the manager is bringing in.”
Published 28 Jul 2019, 18:15 IST
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