On Manchester United’s tour of the USA in 2014, Luke Shaw was a new signing still acclimatising to his new surroundings.
As a 19-year-old who had just been to his first World Cup, Shaw would have come into the Man United camp buzzing. However, he was soon brought back down to earth when his manager, Louis Van Gaal, told the media he felt his new left-back was ‘unfit.’ Shaw was ordered to do extra training on his own in order to meet Van Gaal’s demands.
Despite his extra efforts, Shaw endured a difficult first season at Old Trafford. Injuries plagued his campaign and the 20-year-old struggled to put together a run in the side. 12 months on and things are noticeably different for Shaw.
After last year’s criticism, Shaw decided to go on an off-season training camp with Adnan Januzaj to put himself in the best possible shape for the pre-season tour in a move which will have really impressed Van Gaal and all of United’s staff.
Following the second game of the club’s tour, Shaw’s performances indicate that he has done everything right in his bid to get back to his best. In just two displays, the full-back has shown what was missing from his game last year.
Pace, energy and enthusiasm have all returned to Shaw and he is looking a different player. In the first half against San Jose Earthquakes, Shaw was one of United’s best players, bombing up and down the left wing. The ex-Southampton man was making key contributions at both ends of the field, whether it was overlapping for Ashley Young or making a challenge on an opposition winger.
The early signs for Shaw are good. United fans will be optimistic that they are now seeing the player they think could be their left-back for many years to come.
If Shaw’s pre-season performances and fitness are anything to go by, it is clear he will be aiming to make a much bigger impact at Old Trafford this season.