Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw
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Luke Shaw has to follow Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial’s lead and fight his way back into Jose Mourinho’s plans.

If he is to make it as a Manchester United player, Luke Shaw should take a look at two of his teammates examples.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial both endured frustrating starts to this season under Jose Mourinho, but both have now cemented their places within the Portuguese’s side. Mkhitaryan needed to adapt to the physical elements of the Premier League, whereas Martial was a little too inconsistent for Mourinho’s liking. Both worked hard and took their chances when they came, and are now more-or-less starters for United.

Qualities and Potential

When United signed Luke Shaw in 2014, there were expectations that he would be the Reds’ long-term solution to the departing Patrice Evra. Blistering pace, great going forward and solid defensively. Of course, he had and clearly still has a lot to learn, but there was so much potential with him. It speaks volumes that Mourinho attempted to sign him for Chelsea at the same time that United did, but could not match certain fees United were offering for a young player.

Shaw endured a difficult start under Louis van Gaal, in and out of the side for both injury and fitness reasons. Understandable – a 19-year-old boy coming to Manchester United to play at the highest standard isn’t easy. A new fitness regime during the 2015 pre-season and Shaw looked as fit as ever, as he started the season in brilliant form.

However, a horrific leg-break and another set-back occurred.

Setback

What we must understand is that not only does a bad injury affect the physical side to one’s game, but the mental side too. At 21 years of age, sustaining such a terrible injury must still play on his mind. These other small injuries that he has been picking up this season isn’t helping. When asked if Shaw will be sold due to him to not being included in various match-day squads, Jose answered:

No, no, no. He will be here for sure, that is out of the question. What I think is that he had a very ugly injury, really, really ugly and the fact is not just the physical point of view but also the mental impact on him.

He denied any rift with Shaw, suggesting that just like Martial and any other young player, he just needs time to adapt to what a different manager wants. Times like these are when I think about Evra and Nemanja Vidic. When they joined United and did not look up to our standard. It took time for them to adapt, but they turned out to be fan favourites and ultimately gave us great service over the years.

Time to make an impression

Not only would it benefit United, but it would benefit Martial hugely having Shaw behind him or on the overlap. Indeed, Martial cuts in on his right foot a lot – so having an option in the Shaw on the overlap would add another dimension to the Frenchman’s game.

Mourinho has been playing with either Daley Blind or Matteo Darmian at the main left-back this season. It’s clear that Blind is technically a good player, but he doesn’t have the pace to be effective there. Darmian isn’t United standard. It is clear as daylight that the United left-back position is there for the taking – Luke Shaw is the man, but he has a lot of work to put in.

Shaw must now knuckle down and work hard just like Mkhitaryan and Martial have done to prove themselves to Mr Mourinho.

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