Luke Shaw has noted that he currently feels better than he’s ever felt at Manchester United after reasserting himself on Jose Mourinho’s starting XI.
The full-back attracted criticism from his boss back in April for his inadequate work rate and looked to be the most likely January departure less than two months ago having failing to breach the match-day squad.
But a strong performance in the Champions League against CSKA Moscow – his first start of the campaign – has proved to be the catalyst for an impressive run of form during which he has made nine starts.
And Shaw, speaking in an interview earlier this week, noted that he has never felt better since joining Man United.
“A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” he said.
“Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team.
“I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United.
“If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing.
“I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.”
Perhaps only now, following a genuine run of games, can Shaw feel like those lasting vestiges of pain and doubt caused by that horrific leg break over two years ago have fully abated.
He has never before had the chance to play every week and become part of the side’s fabric in such a way. Under Louis van Gaal and the early stages of Mourinho’s we had glimpses before he was cast into the shadows again through either injury or a simple lack of trust from his manager.
The last time Shaw played this well and this consistently he broke his leg, and supporters will hope that, this time around, he becomes a fulcrum of this United side.