Jose Mourinho noted in today’s press conference that Shaw’s sheer bravery and determination to improve was what ensured he received a new contract at Manchester United.
The club announced on Thursday that Shaw had signed a new deal which keeps him at the club until 2023 with the option to extend for another year, receiving a considerable wage boost in the process.
He has been Man United’s most consistent player this season, winning the ‘Player of the Month’ award twice in a row.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge, Mourinho made a point of how Shaw’s mentality was key to earning a new deal at Old Trafford.
“Players are different, men are different, players are different and they react in different ways to the development process and Luke reacted in the best possible way in these difficult moments,” he said.
“The moments where he was not selected, not playing regular, he was saying the same all the time, ‘I want to play for you and United I am going to make it and be the player you want me to be.’
“And he did it, he faced the process in a brave way he started the season before the season start in the best possible way where he went for holidays with a club fitness coach and he arrived in day one in much better conditions than a player that has a holiday just for fun and rest.
“Then by the tactical point of view I think he absorbed all the info, all the work we accumulate in the past years, mentally he got stronger and of course the happiness of this season to start playing and play regular and to feel the place was his place and the national team, even though he was not happy with his injury against Spain, also the feeling also helped.
“An accumulation of factors, an important contract for the club to keep him and important for him because is what he wants and when he gets a new contract with Manchester United I think was good news for us.”
There were many times when us as supporters wrote off the idea of Shaw coming of age at United. It felt as if a combination of injuries and psychological demons – the two clearly linked – would forever preclude Shaw from showing what he can do.
He has proven everyone wrong. Over the summer it was as if the penny dropped, and Shaw, turned from boy to man, relentlessly worked himself into peak condition before thrusting himself into the starting XI over pre-season, stretching every sinew until he was undroppable, scoring his first Premier League goal against Leicester and refusing to look back ever since.
Shaw made this happen through sheer force of will. He has certainly gained the respect of his manager. And supporters will hope he can continue to make the left-back slot his own.