It’s been five years since Manchester United announced they had beaten Premier League rivals to the signature of Shaw. At the time, it was regarded
It’s been five years since Manchester United announced they had beaten Premier League rivals to the signature of Shaw. At the time, it was regarded as a significant coup.
The left-back had impressed at Southampton and, with Patrice Evra on the wane, it was time for fresh legs. In Shaw, the club thought they had signed the best young performer in the Premier League.
But half a decade on and we’re still yet to see the best of the Manchester United star. In truth, his time at Old Trafford has been marred by problems.
Firstly, Louis van Gaal thought him unfit when he signed him.
Not overweight – as Jose Mourinho would later think – but simply not fit enough to last the course of a 90-minute game.
That set alarm bells ringing. Here was United’s next rising star but Van Gaal, being Van Gaal, had meticulous standards.
It took 12 months for Shaw to win the Dutchman round. But a horror injury sustained in a Champions League defeat to PSV Eindhoven saw him struggle to recover.
By the time he did, Mourinho was the man in charge.
And, like Van Gaal, he too had high standards. The United boss, like his predecessor, took a long time to warm to Shaw.
Mourinho thought Shaw unfit. That’s why he hooked him during an FA Cup win over Brighton in 2018 after just 45 minutes.
The England international only won his manager round last season. But edging ahead Ashley Young in the pecking order is hardly something to shout about.
And, now, Solskjaer is struggling to get the best from the defender too.
The United manager rates Shaw but, in reality, does not have an alternative who is fit for purpose. Young is still that other choice.
If it’s not Young, it’s Marcos Rojo. A player whose footballing intelligence is dangerously low.
Shaw now makes the United team by default but the truth is he wouldn’t get into any other top six side.
Andy Robertson at Liverpool is significantly better than him at both ends of the pitch.
Benjamin Mendy (when fit), Kieran Tierney, Emerson Palmieri and Danny Rose are too.
Shaw was anonymous during United’s win over Chelsea. In fact, he was arguably the worst player on the pitch.
One fan account on Twitter gave him a zero in their own player ratings. What spoke volumes was that the majority who responded seemed to agree.
It’s been five years since Shaw came in to become Evra’s replacement.
And never has he looked worthy of being the France international’s heir on the left side of the club’s defence. Against Wolves on Monday, he may be exposed.
And Solskjaer has a problem to solve. Mourinho and Van Gaal couldn’t crack the code – but can he?