Luke Shaw and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Shaw: Solskjaer realised what I needed to excel

Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has thanked manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for helping him restart his career after “a difficult couple of years”.

The left-back is penning a weekly diary for ManUtd.com during the COVID-19 lockdown, and opened up on the boss's huge influence in his latest missive.
 
When asked by a fan how important a role the Norwegian has played in his career, the 24-year-old replied:
 
“A massive one. He's helped me a lot on the pitch, but more so he's been one of the biggest influences off the pitch too, with the way he handles players.
 
“He knows what players need. I had a difficult couple of years before he came in; I think maybe he realised that and knew what I needed. He’s really helped me off the pitch. He obviously believes in me, he tells me that. That’s the confidence you need as a player: to have the manager believe in you.”

Shaw's moments of the seasonVideo

Shaw is just one shy of a half-century of United appearances under Solskjaer, having played 55 times in two-and-a-half seasons under Jose Mourinho and on 28 occasions during a couple of campaigns with Louis van Gaal.
 
And the southerner says he's found the right balance with the new manager, who has regularly picked him at both left-back and as a centre-back. Even though football is famously intense at the top level, Luke believes decent personal relationships are still worth their weight in gold.
 
“We also get on really well, and that's a key thing: your relationship off the pitch,”
he explained.
 
“I know he's the manager, and we all have massive respect for him, but it's also important to have a nice relationship off the pitch too sometimes, when things aren't too serious.”
Shaw, who is seeking a recall to the England squad, having won eight caps for the national side between 2014-18, wrote in a previous diary entry that the entire squad is now in a better place than it has been for a long time.
 
“There really is a great feel about this group of lads now,”
he says,
“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.”
 
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