Manchester United vs Stoke City: Potential XI as Luke Shaw returns

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United have failed to win at the Britannia Stadium during the post-Fergie era, losing twice and drawing once in recent years against Mark Hughes’ men.

Jose Mourinho will know that, following a 1-1 draw with Liverpool last time out, a win at Stoke City is paramount for a side still five points behind second-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

With that in mind, here is a potential XI for the game against Stoke with Luke Shaw returning to the starting XI for the first time since late November.

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Shaw has been the subject of conflicting stories in recent weeks, with some reports suggesting that Mourinho – frustrated with the youngster’s attitude and lack of progression this season – has expressed a desire to offload Shaw in the summer; other reports have claimed that the Englishman, happy with life at Old Trafford according to his agent, will make a return against Stoke.

Either way, one suspects that Shaw’s influence on the left hand side, especially in what promises to be a furiously paced, physical encounter, would dramatically eclipse what Matteo Darmian – a solid but ultimately uninspiring force at left-back – has offered in recent weeks.

The 21-year-old will most likely start alongside the established – and indeed growingly powerful – defensive trio of Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia.

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