Gary Neville has singled out Southampton’s Luke Shaw after his breakthrough into the England first team and admitted that for someone who is only 18, he already has some of the hallmarks of a great player.
In his role as England coach, Neville singled out some of Shaw’s strongest points and showed plenty of evidence as to why Manchester United need to go all to try to sign him in the summer.
Speaking in a weekly piece to The Daisy Cutter, Neville said: “I’ve watched Luke Shaw live a few times this season for Southampton but the staggering thing to me after seeing him in training with England this week has been his age, he’s just 18.
“To do what he’s doing at 18 years old really is incredible. I think with England we’re very blessed at left back with Danny Rose, Luke Shaw, Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines and Kieran Gibbs. You wouldn’t be let down by any one of them playing at the World Cup. There’s such strength in depth in that position it’s incredible.”
Neville specifically pointed at Shaw’s ability to feel comfortable as a left winger also ticks the box for United as Shaw is a fantastic attack minded left back who can combine it with defensive discipline – that sounds precisely like the Patrice Evra of old. Now that the Frenchman is on the decline, United must try and persuade Shaw to fill those boots.
He added: “Watching Shaw at close hand this week, he’s got such power in his running. He drives forward and has a real change of pace and power to pull away from people. He’s had a great upbringing at Southampton where they bring through players with a real level of intelligence and good heads on their shoulders. He’s got good physical presence for an 18 year old and he’ll just improve and improve.
“I played for England when I was 20, but two years is a long time in football so to be playing at 18 is fantastic, not many people play for England at that age. He has got the ability to play further up the pitch in the future as he’s like a winger when he goes forward. He can cross the ball, he can beat men, he can play one-twos…but so can Leighton Baines. So can Ashley Cole, he’s been doing that for 10 or 12 years.”
It is rare for and English player to be settled into a Premier League club and to make his international debut at just 18, something Neville labelled as ‘incredible’, and if David Moyes wants to have a thorough scouting report on Shaw, he should look no further than the advice of Neville.