Serge Aurier drags Harry Maguire out of position on the left. Luke Shaw, instead of covering the space his captain left behind, goes to Harry Kane at the edge of the box while Son Heung-min shoots into the area.
Luke! Luke! No Luke, run! What is your problem? Hello!’
David de Gea sees the error, but it is too late.
Luke Shaw (right) has enjoyed a resurgence in form that coincided with United’s rise to the league
The 25-year-old was put in the spotlight for showing in the 6-1 defeat to Tottenham
Manchester United’s humiliating defeat at home to Spurs in October seemed to signal the start of a drastic change at Old Trafford. That, added to the viral clip of the Red Devils goalkeeper denouncing his left back, made for grim reading for the English defender.
But it was Shaw who came forward to face control of the television cameras after the 6-1 hit the hands of Jose Mourinho.
‘It really hurts. It’s embarrassing and we’ve abandoned a lot of people, ”he said. ‘We have abandoned ourselves and the staff. We were too quiet and naive. Many mistakes have been made and we need to do more.
A clip of David de Gea berating his left back raises doubts about his future selection in the squad
Shaw faced the media after that defeat and has grown stronger ever since
‘It was a lack of concentration and then a mistake, another mistake, another mistake. We are disabled. I was ashamed on the field. We have to take a good look at ourselves. We’re nowhere near it at the moment. ‘
The transformation in results after Spurs’ defeat is well documented: 11 wins, four draws and one defeat – 31 goals scored, 14 against. The Red Devils can regain first place on the table tonight with the win over cellar boys Sheffiield United.
The change has been credited to Bruno Fernandes, whose monstrous efforts since joining last January have hit the arm for everyone involved at the club.
But in Shaw, United has a bona fide leader who strikes at the right time for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
His man-of-the-match performance at Anfield epitomized his transformation in form
Shaw stopped Mo Salah and was aggressive in intercepting and moving the ball forward
Shaw and Salah again closed the horns over the weekend with United top in the cup
Shaw’s resurgence in form marks a remarkable turnaround for the 25-year-old.
The takeover of Alex Telles from Porto in the summer would have been a clear warning to the fullback, with the Brazilian almost a sure starter.
However, Solskjaer has maintained confidence in his English fullback, and his man-of-the-match appearance at Anfield earlier this month is a perfect indication of Shaw’s progress this season.
Shaw noted that the defeat to Spurs was largely due to a serious lack of concentration across the board.
The arrival of Alex Telles (L) this summer has been seen as a possible replacement for the 25-year-old
Shaw’s hamstring injury at Everton also threatened to be a huge blow to his first-team status
His aggression in the tackle, his tenacity to stick with Mohamed Salah at every turn, and intelligent reading of the game when making some key interceptions, show that now there can be no qualms about Shaw’s level of concentration.
Where Fernandes had an off day, Shaw took it a step further. The fullback produced 81 percent accuracy with his passing in the Liverpool half (he’s 70 percent for the season), the highest of any United players on the day and his overall passing accuracy in 2020-21 is 82 percent. .
United brought Fulham to another encounter with their fierce rivals a few days after the clash at Anfield, this time at Old Trafford with Shaw and Co sealing their place in the FA Cup fifth round with a 3-2 victory. The left back should have done better when Salah scored, but it was another impressive overall performance – creating three chances for teammates.
Shaw has the highest level of experience that belies his years. His versatility to be able to operate as one of a back three – as seen in the stellar win at PSG – or in the traditional fullback gives Solskjaer the tools to keep rival coaches guessing.
However, he has returned from that injury and has become indispensable to Solskjaer
Telles competition has only served to light a fire in Shaw’s belly to ensure his place in the United XI remains intact.
Shaw’s hamstring injury at Everton threatened to take a massive blow, giving Telles a chance to defend his case for more minutes in the first team. But his mental strength to recover from that setback and pick up where he left off has made him indispensable to Solskjaer.
The United boss is well aware of the talent he has on his hands. Considered by many to be the symbol of the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, that is, an expensive flop, Solskjaer sees things quite differently.
Shaw could live up to the United chief’s prediction that he could become England’s best fullback
He’s been out in the cold for a while, with his last cap for England in 2018
Shaw will put himself up front for a call from Gareth Southgate if he keeps up
“We may have the best left back in England. Luke has the potential to be the best and that’s the big challenge for him right now, ” he said before visiting Anfield in the 2019-2020 season.
There remain a handful of players who can make a greater claim to that accolade, but there is no doubt that if Shaw continues on this upward trajectory, he will certainly make sure his manager’s prediction comes true.
More recently, Solskjaer told United’s website, “If you have Luke’s talent, when that condition and the mental part are resolved, then you always get good performance.”
English boss Gareth Southgate will certainly look on with a wry smile. The national team boss does not have the depth of quality offered to him on the right side of the defense, with Ben Chilwell currently his first choice left back.
Shaw’s form has put him front and center on a call-up and his first international cap since England’s Nations League defeat to Spain in September 2018.
At the age of 25 he has not even reached his peak years.