Shaw deserves this personal renaissance
Luke Shaw was a man in demand on Monday night.
Manchester United’s match against Spurs had been over for around 90 minutes before the Reds' left-back finally strode through the post-match media zone next to the Old Trafford tunnel.
A handful of patient journalists had waited around for quotes from the players and had hoped the 23-year-old would be willing to speak, despite the disappointment of the 3-0 defeat, but Shaw apologised to the waiting press and pointed out that he had just conducted around eight interviews for the TV cameras.
It was a pity but the reporters accepted his polite refusal and, putting aside the disappointment of not getting to interview him, most were pleased that a young player who has been through so much is currently enjoying a personal renaissance.
Shaw was wanted by the media after the Spurs game because he had been one of the biggest plusses of an evening that started breathlessly and positively for his team. He was United’s Man of the Match in many people’s eyes and it was significant that when manager Jose Mourinho strode onto the pitch following the defeat, he made a beeline for Luke.
Mourinho put a consoling arm around the defender and later told MUTV how delighted he was by his display. "I was particularly pleased [with Shaw],” said the boss. "I told him you cannot play better than you did. He was so upset with the result, the kid has to be, but also the kid has to know that he has had three very good matches in the Premier League and today he was very good. I am very happy with him."
It was great to see Luke himself looking so happy after scoring what turned out to be the winning goal against Leicester City on the opening day of the season, and it was a shame he couldn’t have been beaming after the Tottenham match, following another more than satisfying personal performance.
England boss Gareth Southgate was watching in the stands on Monday night and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t reward Shaw with a call-up on Thursday for the upcoming UEFA Nations League international against Spain at Wembley and the friendly at Leicester’s King Power Stadium against Switzerland. It is no more than the United player deserves.
When the Three Lions play against the Swiss next month, it will be a few days short of the three-year anniversary since Shaw’s football world was turned upside down. Just when he was beginning to cement a place in Louis van Gaal's side, early in his second season at the club, the defender suffered a horrific double leg fracture on the Champions League trip to Eindhoven. The immediate eerie silence inside PSV’s Philips Stadium that night suggested his injury was a serious one and the tale of Shaw's long battle to return has been well told since.
It was a refreshing insight that gave the impression of a young man who is content and focused on where his future is going. That has been in evidence in the very positive way that Shaw has tackled the new season.
If the club needs an example of how to grit your teeth and fight back during a difficult time, then Luke is it.
With mental toughness and a steadfast resolve to get back on course, Shaw has shown the way.
The opinions in this story are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United Football Club.
Last night hurt. But I just wanna thank the fans for your amazing support it doesn’t go unnoticed. We will bounce back 👍🏽❤️— Luke Shaw (@LukeShaw23) August 28, 2018