Luke Shaw has completely dismissed the notion that he was substituted against Arsenal in the FA Cup because he was not fit enough to complete the game.
The 19-year-old was replaced by Phil Jones at half-time and questions were asked as to why he didn’t complete the game. This week, an article from Neil Ashton on the Daily Mail suggested Shaw has mentally, psychologically and physically struggled since joining Man United and it was met with some fierce criticism from United fans.
That criticism now seems vindicated following Shaw’s interview about the game against Arsenal where he was substituted and went on to explain what he has found difficult since joining the club.
“I saw a comment saying I was taken off against Arsenal because I wasn’t fit enough,” he said. “That’s not true at all.
“I know what the manager pulled me off for and it wasn’t for my fitness because I could have carried on.
“I spoke with the manager about it. I felt my back a little bit, but he just wanted to be careful.
“I haven’t been playing and there have been negative comments. It isn’t nice and I’ve tried to ignore it, but hopefully this was the start of me coming back.
“These have been difficult times. But I am still young. Coming to the biggest club in the world hasn’t been easy.
“I wouldn’t say it has been a hard three weeks, but it has been a three weeks that I have been able to learn a lot about myself. But I am positive. It is great to be back on the pitch.
“I have family and friends who are helping me on my journey and the manager has been unbelievable. I have learned a lot from him and credit goes to him for trusting me in a big game like Saturday.”
Criticism from all available angles is something every player has to get used to when joining United and Shaw is going through that stage now. He’ll come out the other side mentally stronger and better for it.
Since joining for nearly £30m, Shaw would have wanted to hit the ground running and by now have established himself as United’s first-choice left-back but it hasn’t quite worked out that way. Instead, he’s had to deal with frustrations and hurdles across the year which have set him back but his performance against Chelsea showed the promise which earned him a move to United in the first place.
What fans have to remember is that Shaw is only 19 and in the grand scheme of things, letting him stay on the periphery for a year in order to settle properly into the team will be minor if he can become the club’s left-back for a decade.