Shaw’s injury means van Gaal has to tinker with a back four that has been relatively solid thus far this season. The same defence have started every game Man United have played this season but, for the first time this campaign, the manager is forced to change his personnel.
The Dutchman has spoken about the understanding developing between Memphis Depay and Shaw down United’s left hand side. However, it will now be up to Shaw’s replacement to build up a partnership with Memphis.
Speaking ahead of United’s game against Southampton, van Gaal said: “You have to build up again a combination with the player in front of him. Memphis and Shaw were a very combination and now you have to build up a new combination.
“You have to start again and that is difficult. It’s also difficult for the player who has to replace him. But we have in Blind, Rojo and in Ashley Young, good replacements.”
Van Gaal definitely has options to fill in for Shaw. Rojo starts in the same position for his country Argentina, and can easily fill the void left by Shaw. However, Daley Blind was the man chosen to go to left-back after Shaw came off injured against PSV on Tuesday, breaking up his partnership with Chris Smalling at centre-back.
Whoever van Gaal chooses to deputise for Shaw will have their work cut out. The Englishman has been so impressive that, even as a left-back, he has been key to United’s success this season.
The Reds will hope that they do not miss their first-choice left-back for the remainder of the season and can still challenge on all fronts without him.