Newcastle matchday Q&A with Luke Shaw
Luke Shaw has featured in the starting XI in each of Manchester United's last three Premier League matches after an injury-hit opening to the season.
In an exclusive interview with club media, the 24-year-old discusses the Boxing Day game against Newcastle and also looks ahead to what 2020 has in store for the Reds...
Luke, we’re playing Newcastle United on Boxing Day - what’s it like being a footballer at Christmas? Perhaps holding back a bit on the celebrations while everyone else in your family is having a great time?
Yeah, maybe. But I think because I’ve done it for so long now I think I’m used to it. I think it’s a very special occasion, especially Boxing Day, I think it’s lovely for us to play, but also for the fans worldwide to be able to see games on Boxing Day. Of course, it’s one we look forward to, and we all look to see whether we’re home or away for the Boxing Day game. We’ll prepare for the game as we always do and go out and enjoy it, and, hopefully, get the win.
The fixture has been kind and we are at home this year, what difference does that make in your routine?
We’re lucky, we’ve got a home game so we were able to spend more time on Christmas Day with our families and loved ones, but we’ll still prepare right for the game.
A Christmas message from the RedsVideo
There are plenty of fixtures to play over the whole festive season, is that something you also relish? You’re playing more than you’re training…
Yeah, it is a very hectic schedule, but it’s our job and we love doing it. We look forward to it. Two games in two days is very quick, but we’re professionals and we need to be ready for whenever we play. It’s a special time. You can’t have any excuses. It’s the best time of the year, so we need to get ready for each game when they come around.
In your four and a half years here, so far you’ve played at Old Trafford a couple of times on Boxing Day. Do you recall what those atmosphere was like during those games? Is there a difference in the atmosphere?
I think you could say it’s more special. Ever since I was young, and even now, it surprises me just how many fans come. Obviously, it is Boxing Day and you spend it with your family, but it’s amazing to see the turnout we - and every other club - gets on Boxing Day. It’s really a special moment and a special atmosphere. For me, the atmosphere is always great here and it’s the same on Boxing Day, but with a bit extra at this time of year. It’s lovely to play around Christmas. It puts a smile on people’s faces, especially when we get good results, so they can enjoy their Boxing Day even more.
How big a game is that one against Newcastle, especially with former favourite Steve Bruce returning to Old Trafford?
With the fans, I’m sure he’ll get a good reception from them here, but it’s also one for us, we owe them after the game we had away [to Newcastle]. Losing that was very hard for us to take. We owe them one. We’re at home and we’ve got the crowd behind us, and we need to be confident and positive. I’m sure with the fans behind us, with that great atmosphere, we can put on a show for them.
Of course, the famous travelling Toon Army, they’re bound to have a good song in them on Boxing Day. It might bring out the best in our fans as well…
Personally, I love it when their away fans give it a bit as well, because it makes the atmosphere even better and gets everyone in the stadium going. I’m sure they’ll bring a great atmosphere – it’s always a great atmosphere when we play them at their stadium. Hopefully they bring their good fans and it will boost us even more.
In the new year, there will be an FA Cup tie against Wolves - hopefully at that point we’ll be able to take stock of where we are because of the amount of points that are available over Christmas…
It’s crazy. People are quick to forget how many games there are and how many points are actually available over the Christmas period. People were saying we were so far behind that we maybe can’t catch up. We’ve turned that around in such a short time. That’s because there are so many games and even more so in this period. There are four or five games in about two weeks, so there are so many points available and our fixtures are looking good. We need to capitalise on that and get the most points we can.
What do you think is the next step for this team?
We’re in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, we’ve got the FA Cup and the Europa League – three trophies we’ve got a great chance of winning. We need to focus on them, but also the league as we’re way behind where we’re supposed to be. We’ve got such quality in our squad, [and] a great management team; we should be pushing for much more than we have been.
Do you feel like something is building here and that the club is going in the right direction?
Of course. I feel that the squad we have is no different from the squads that are challenging for the title. We’ve got such amazing players and some amazing young players who are still learning. Of course, we’re all still learning and all still wanting to improve. Everyone at this club wants the best thing for this club and even more so from the management side. We’ve got great coaches and a great manager, that knows this club inside out. He knows what is needs to bring the good old days back that he once had under Sir Alex. I’ve got full confidence in this squad and in the manager. I’m sure he’ll be bringing in a few new players that can add to the strength of this team and take us back to the good old days of winning trophies.
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