Louis van Gaal does not want Luke Shaw to play in England’s campaign during the U21s European Championships this summer in order for him to recover after a physically demanding season with Manchester United.
The 19-year-old has struggled with his fitness all year long and spent the majority of the season on the injury table after completing a big money move from Southampton last summer.
Fans have understandably been frustrated to see Shaw sidelined so much this season and speaking to the press ahead of this weekend’s game against Arsenal, Van Gaal made it clear he didn’t want Shaw to play for England during the U21 Euros this summer so that he can recover from his problems.
Asked about whether Shaw would be fit to play this summer, Van Gaal said: “I don’t think so because when he is not playing for United, he cannot play for other teams either. That extends to the summer.
“He needs that rest I think because he has over-crossed his limits this season, and that’s why. He’s 19-years-old – what do you expect? We have to protect him and I hope that the coach of the Under-21s [Gareth Southgate] is understanding of that reason.”
Van Gaal sounds very much like Sir Alex in this scenario, ignoring the national agenda in order to protect his own players and that’s what you want to see from a club manager.
He is completely right. Shaw will be exhausted if he plays in the U21s Championships, joins United on the pre-season tour and then begins the Premier League season.
Taking the U21s Euros out of the equation gives Shaw enough time to build up his own strength and at the end of the day, it is down to the players’ and clubs’ discretion as to whether they take part in an international tournament.