Denis Irwin has given his support to Luke Shaw by backing him to succeed at Manchester United and overcome what has been a difficult period in his young career.
Shaw started the 2015 season in outstanding form before a horror leg break ruled him out for the rest of the year and so far under Jose Mourinho he’s been unable to hold down a place in Man United’s first-team for any extended period of time.
Mourinho is testing Shaw, trying to get more out of him like he did with Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Irwin has no doubt he’ll come to fruition so long as he continues working hard in training.
“You’ve seen the talent’s there,” Irwin said.
“The first couple of months he was fantastic. It’s up to the manager to decide when he wants to throw him in there.
“He’s only a young lad and he’s come back from a horrendous injury. It’s been a bit of a battle this year to play left back.
“You saw [Matteo] Darmian play quite a few games there, [Daley] Blind has been very, very good at left back, very consistent, [Marcos] Rojo played in the final on Sunday.
“There’s competition there for Luke. All he can do is get his head down, work as hard as possible to impress the manager. He’s only young so he’s got time on his side.”
I’m fully in agreement with Irwin on Shaw and have backed him the whole time because he is, by some margin, the best left-back at United. None of Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind or Matteo are anywhere near as good as Shaw in terms of his defensive and attacking ability as a whole package.
For me, Mourinho is treating Shaw a little bit too harsh. The tough treatment worked with Martial and Mkhitaryan but a softer approach and an arm round the shoulder might bring more out of Shaw after the 18 months he has had. Of course, maybe he is doing that behind the scenes and we aren’t privy to it, I hope so.
I still think Shaw can be United and England’s left-back for the next decade but he’s up against it at the moment. Is he strong enough to overcome this current situation? We’ll see but sooner or later Mourinho has to give him an opportunity and when he does Shaw has got to make sure he takes it. Like Irwin points out, he’s got all the talent.