Ole's man-management 'second to none', says Luke
Luke Shaw has credited Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s style of man-management as being a primary reason behind the ‘new level’ he has set with his performances at left-back this season.
Shaw, who won our Player-of-the-Month award for February, was recalled to the England squad last week after a stellar period with the Reds.
The 25-year-old has created more chances than any other defender in this season’s Premier League and scored just his third goal for United during the 2-0 Manchester derby win earlier in March.
It is clearly our no.23’s most impressive campaign since joining the club in 2014 and much of that is down to the way Solskjaer takes the pressure off and allows the players to perform on the pitch, says Luke.
“His man-management is second to none,” Shaw told Sky Sports. “The way he conducts himself in terms of how he speaks to the players, it gets the best out of them. You can see that.
“He deals with situations perfectly in terms of what is needed, especially at a big club like Manchester United.
“He takes the pressure off the lads and takes it all himself. Sometimes it is not fair because we are the ones on the pitch and we need to take our fair share too.
“For me, especially, from what I had before Ole came in, it is a total difference. It has pushed me to a new level.”
Shaw’s early career at United was affected by the devastating leg-break he suffered during a 2015 Champions League tie with PSV Eindhoven.
He claimed both the Sir Matt Busby and Players’ Player of the Year awards in 2019 at the end of a disappointing campaign for the club as a whole, but this is arguably the only other season where – a spell on the sidelines in November aside – he has been allowed to put together a long spell of consistent, injury-free performances.
Luke is keen not to use any injury troubles as an excuse, though, but says the lack of belief in his own ability which came from spending so long out of the side is something that has only really been alleviated under Ole’s management, using the platform the Norwegian has given his side to enjoy their game.
“I don't want to come across like I was a little kid who could not deal with being put under pressure because at a big club like Manchester United, you are always going to be under pressure and under the spotlight,” he added. “That makes you mentally stronger.
“But I had no confidence at that time. I was losing my belief. I think that is what changed with Ole. He managed me right and I got my confidence back and I am really enjoying it at the moment.
“Enjoyment and confidence. For me, they are the two biggest things you need on the pitch. You need that belief in your ability to perform at the highest level. I feel I have that now."
As domestic football takes a backseat for the next 10 days, next on the agenda for Shaw is a potential first appearance for England since 2018, with the Three Lions taking on San Marino, Albania and Poland in qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.
Far from assuming adding to his eight caps is a given, though, the former Southampton man is just happy to be back in Gareth Southgate’s reckoning for now.
“I am pretty certain, if the Euros had gone ahead last year, I would not have been involved, so I am quite lucky it was delayed.
“Now I have a chance to be involved. Even just to be in the squad would be a great achievement.”