One month ago Luke Shaw was already having his Manchester United career questioned by various corners of the media circus when he made a small error that led to West Brom taking an early 1-0 lead against Louis van Gaal‘s side, a match which would end 2-2.
Several media outlets pondered if the 19-year old was fulfilling his talent at Old Trafford despite the fact the former Southampton man was making just his third start for the club at The Hawthorns.
But Shaw responded to his critics with a commanding performance against Premier League leaders at Chelsea two weeks ago, defending well throughout and offering an attacking threat that had been missing from his early performances.
Against Manchester City last Sunday he was the team’s stand out player on a rough day for the defence all round. With ten men, Shaw was playing alongside a defensive duo of Michael Carrick and Patrick McNair with Antonio Valencia occupying the right-back spot.
The teenager never let the sprightly Jesus Navas out of his sight and made several well-timed tackles on the Spaniard with United desperately defending a 1-0 deficit as they looked to equalise against a shaky Man City side.
Against Crystal Palace on Sunday, Shaw was once again commanding at left-back. His defensive positioning was spot on and he attacked as well as he has done in a red shirt and at one point brought out a top save from Julian Speroni.
His marauding runs were one of United’s most dangerous outlets over the 90 minutes and he had the energy to make sure he didn’t shy away from his defensive responsibilities as well. His performance against Palace was like watching Patrice Evra in his pomp, deadly going forward but just as assured in defence.
At just 19, the criticism of Shaw’s early performances were unwarranted, especially given he was slotting into an already inconsistent defence ruined by injuries. Now, after settling down, Shaw is beginning to show just why United were willing to pay such a big fee for him in the summer.