By Mark Weasley
Manchester United are currently on a run that is getting the club’s passionate fans dreaming of the glory days once again. The Red Devils have won four consecutive league games, and will be looking to extend that run when Boro come calling on New Year’s Eve. However, all these good feelings in the air at Old Trafford is not being felt by everyone. 21-year-old Luke Shaw has not featured at all this month, and is currently out of the first team picture as he has not displayed enough of the grit, fight and passion that Mourinho expects from his players since his comeback from injury.
The England full back has not featured for United since the 4-1 drubbing of West Ham in the Capital One Cup in the League Cup back on November 30, and has found his place taken by Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind. All is not lost on his chances of success at Old Trafford. He was bought for close to £31m in 2014 from Southampton as the long term replacement to Patrice Evra but a culmination of form and injury issues meant he didn’t make much of an impression in his first season.
The second season started brightly, but a nasty leg break away at PSV last year meant he missed the rest of the campaign, and also missed England’s disastrous Euro 2016. Under Jose Mourinho, he has not hit the heights expected of him and has been criticised publicly by his manager, a move that has backfired spectacularly. Jose wanted him to use that criticism to show his worth, but his fragile confidence meant he has recoiled further into his shell, and has not upped his game since.
The case of Henrikh Mkhitaryan should serve as inspiration to him, the Armenian came into The Premier League with a huge reputation, but struggled to adapt to the league. He remained the consummate professional, and gradually won over his manager due to his persistence and hard work, Shaw must do the same, and at 21, still has the best part of his career ahead of him.
Once he gets his act together, Jose will welcome him back to the fold with open arms and perhaps, his name might be sung with adulation as the Old Trafford now sing about their classy Armenian.