Former Manchester United defender Darren Fletcher believes that Luke Shaw will eventually assert himself as a first choice left-back under Jose Mourinho.
The Englishman drew public criticism from his boss earlier this year and still hasn’t made a Premier League appearance this season.
But he was handed a place in the starting XI against CSKA Moscow and duly impressed with an energetic, organised display on the left hand side.
And Fletcher, speaking soon after the 2-1 win, noted that Shaw will benefit from the adversity he has faced under Mourinho in the long run.
“Everyone knows Mourinho likes his defenders to defend first and foremost and anything you can give the other way is a real bonus and Luke Shaw looked like he was tying into that the other night,” he said. “I thought his performance was fantastic, not only going forward but defensively.”
“It is all character building stuff for him but because he is a young lad this might be the making of him in some ways.
“People might say Ashley Young is not a left-back, he is right-footed, he used to be a winger, but plenty of great left-backs have been right-footed.
“Youngy is getting a little older now so he might see that as his long-term future. That is probably going to be Luke Shaw’s biggest challenge more than anything.”
The sheer thrust and purpose brought to the table by Shaw belied the notion that he was starting his first game in over nine months and, crucially, sent a clear message to Mourinho and all the critics out there that he was by no means throwing in the towel at Old Trafford.
This was the Shaw that we have seen so painfully little since he arrived at the club in 2014: nimble, rapid across the ground, organised at the back, feeding the ball through the lines with precision. Any of the sluggishness or psychological barriers that have prevented him from regularly imposing himself on the starting XI was nowhere to be seen.
Mourinho insisted after the game that Shaw would receive further chances to impress and supporters will just pray he can make every minute on the pitch count.