Shaw’s diary: Why this is a great group
Hi everybody. As you’d expect in lockdown, there isn’t a great deal of news to report from home this week.
I shaved my head the other week and, as that’s growing back a bit now, I’m starting to think about my options. My mate was saying that it makes me look meaner, so maybe I’ll keep it for when we get back to playing football!
The big change this week is that the squad are all on group video chats every morning. Pretty much the whole team is fully together, and the lads who have been abroad are coming back to Manchester, and it will help to have everyone on the same time zone. The chat opens up at a certain time for people to get in earlier and have a catch-up, see what everyone’s up to, then 15 minutes later we do the session. That varies from day-to-day. The day before yesterday was hamstring and core, then an endurance run. Yesterday we did groins and core, with the run being shorter, sharper stuff - some agility work, just to get the sharpness back.
We’ve been sent out GPS systems so the club can keep track of what we’re doing, making sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to. Obviously, this would be a lot easier at the training ground, but we’re not allowed, so we’re helping each other out on our WhatsApp group, making sure everyone is able to locate a good spot to do the work.
It’s great to see everyone helping each other out. Carras was on the group call the other day, praising us for looking after ourselves because everybody looks the same as before lockdown, so he’s happy. Everyone’s working hard, we’re pushing each other with our runs and helping each other out. Hopefully everyone can be back working together at the training ground soon.
There really is a great feel about this group of lads now, and that has been the case for a while. I’ve seen a lot of changes during my time at United and I have to say that Ole has been responsible for a large amount of the improvements around the place. When he came in, he knew what was needed, what had to change to get things up and running again. He’s signed people who aren’t just good players, but also really good lads as well. They’ve integrated in the squad really well and brought a bit more energy and togetherness in the group.
That’s particularly true of Harry. He’s really trying to make sure we get more things done together as a group going forward. Youngy was brilliant, really tried his hardest, but sometimes it was difficult to get things done as a group. Now we’ve made a pact that whenever a team bonding thing happens, we all have to do it or we get fined. It’s great for the team to be together and do things together.
In some groups, sometimes, there are people who just don’t get on, which is natural when you’ve got big groups, but I honestly believe that in our squad everyone gets on really well. We all love each other, we all want to push each other to be the best and, of course, to get United as a club back to where it needs to be.
What keeps you going through pre-match jitters? [via @emmanuel_okodo]
“There’s always a little bit of nerves before a game, probably more so in bigger games, but I just try not to overthink things, believe in myself and don’t get too nervous. To help myself relax, I tend to listen to music, either in my headphones or just to the music we’re listening to as a team before the game. That’s how I relax and get ready for the game."
Has the rise of Brandon Williams pushed you to become even better? [via @JuanAnderOnly]
“Of course. Brandon’s a brilliant player, obviously a very young player. There’s always room for improvement, for him and for me, and I think it has helped me personally. Before, I had the likes of Youngy to compete for left-back with me, but he switched positions quite a lot. Now Brandon has come in as a more specialist left-back and has done really well. Of course, that’s made me want to do really well in myself. He’s pushed me along. It’s really good for the boss and the squad to have that kind of competition for places, where we’re pushing each other and all improving all the time.”
Why did you change your shirt number from 3 to 23? [via @AmulyaYadav1]
“Everyone always thinks no.3 is the best number for a left-back, but ever since I was at Southampton I had no.23. I just felt like that was my number. Some weird things happened along the way and that number just kept popping out to me. I’d be with my friends watching TV and 23 would just keep appearing; strange things like that. So I decided that had to be my number. I wanted it when I came to United, but Clevz [Tom Cleverley] had no.23 at the time, so I had to wait a year. That first year wasn’t the best for me, so it was nice to get my number back.”
Who’s your best mate at United since Memphis left? [via @ftblNatt]
“Yeah, I got on really well with Memphis. I was quite sad when he left. It’s hard to pick out a best mate in the squad now. We genuinely all get on really well together, but if I have to pick someone then I’ll probably go for Daniel James. I’m normally next to him on the coach; we always tend to stay behind together after training too, staying quite late, so we spend a lot of time together. He’s probably one of the funniest guys I’ve met. He might seem quiet, but when you know him and you’re around him, he’s really funny. If you ask any of the lads, he’s also quite confident in himself, having a dance around the changing rooms and that, so I’d probably say Jamo."
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