Shaw's relief to be back on the pitch

Monday 08 July 2024 15:55

Luke Shaw has spoken about his return to action for the first time after coming off the bench in England's Euro 2024 quarter-final win over Switzerland.

The Manchester United defender has been sidelined since our win at Luton Town in February and admits he has suffered setbacks when striving to return to action.

Eventually running out of time as the Reds' season ended with Emirates FA Cup glory at Wembley, he was named as the only natural left-back in Gareth Southgate's tournament squad but Kieran Trippier has been filling the position in Germany.

However, at the weekend, Luke came on as a substitute for United team-mate Kobbie Mainoo in the second half of normal time, and helped the Three Lions progress via a penalty shootout, after a 1-1 draw.

Luke Shaw and Bukayo Saka celebrate as England come from behind.

On the same day as some of United's first-team players reported back for pre-season duty, Shaw answered questions at a press conference in Germany.

"The last four months have been really tough," he admitted. "At the start, I was expected to come back a lot sooner, but I went through a lot of setbacks. It was really nice to get on the other night and get some minutes, I've been itching [for it].

"Of course, I think I am [fit and ready to play a full 90 minutes], that is down to Gareth's decision. I feel fit and ready to go."

Shaw continued: "I think before the squad got announced, we had a plan [for my recovery]. The plan was to come back around the second or third game [of the Euros] but, unfortunately, things didn't go as planned and I was pushed back a game or so.

"Of course, it's tough. They were really there for me, not just Gareth and Steve [Holland, the assistant coach] but the medical staff as well. I have a lot to thank them for.

"It's been strange. It's also been difficult as well, going to games, feeling the atmosphere, not putting the shirt on or being involved in games was hard, but that motivated me more to work [my way] back.

"The atmosphere in those games spurred me on. I was, of course, excited to come back but the priority was to help us get back into the game and get us through."

After England looked down and out in the round of 16, before Jude Bellingham's dramatic overhead kick forced extra time against Slovakia, the Euro 2020 runners-up had to come from behind again, with Arsenal's Bukayo Saka scoring the equaliser against Switzerland.

The 5-3 penalty shootout success sets up a semi-final date with the Netherlands on Wednesday, and our Dutch boss Erik ten Hag has already been in touch with his defender about the key battle.

"It was tough," reiterated Shaw. "I felt more nervous watching than playing, it is quite tough.

"I never once thought that we were going to go out, we have to believe right to the end. Good moments like Jude's can happen, but it's down to us to deliver that on the pitch.

"Game by game, we are getting better, there are things we can still improve on but we're looking good."

In terms of United, he added: "I spoke to him [Erik] a couple of times and the medical camp. We've been very close because of what has been going on. We've touched base quite a lot, to be honest, and I think they're in touch with England a lot too.

"No, he didn't [give me any advice ahead of Wednesday] but he sent me a little cheeky message about the game. It was funny. I'm not saying [what it was], though. Ask him!"

First Reds report for pre-season training


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Shaw appeared to switch to a more central position in extra time but is clearly a strong contender to start at left-back against the Dutch in Dortmund.

It was certainly an impressive, and very solid, first appearance at the tournament, in highly pressurised circumstances. However, there may be some thinking in Southgate's mind that England will hopefully play a third game in the space of a week, with the final taking place on Sunday, in terms of managing Luke's potential minutes.


The Reds will return to the pitch on 15 July, when we face Rosenborg in Trondheim for our first pre-season game. Following a friendly against Rangers at Murrayfield, Edinburgh on 20 July, we'll fly out on Tour 2024, presented by Snapdragon.

The trip to the United States will comprise three clashes with Arsenal (Los Angeles, 27 July), Real Betis (San Diego, 31 July) and Liverpool (Columbia, 3 August).

You can buy tickets for all of our pre-season games here, subject to availability.