Luke Shaw says people close to him urged him to leave Manchester United when José Mourinho was manager.
The left-back has been one of the Premier League’s surprise packages this season after his future had been thrown into doubt when United bough Alex Telles from FC Porto in the summer.
And in an interview with The Times, Shaw insists he was never ready to quit, even when his career was at its lowest point.
‘People were telling me to get out of there and go and play somewhere else during the bad times,’ he told the outlet.
‘But I always believed that I would be able to do it.
‘No one wants to leave the biggest club in the world and I believe there was a reason I was brought here, and I didn’t want to leave and not show what I can do.
‘I dug deep, I didn’t let anyone affect me. Now I’m on a much better path and setting a higher bar than before.’
The 25-year-old has endured criticism from successive managers, from Louis van Gaal, who made him do extra training because he thought he was overweight, to José Mourinho, who The Times notes ‘branded Shaw unintelligent, unprofessional and tactically naïve’.
Nowadays, Shaw says he is his own worst critic.
‘I want to be consistently performing at a high level and I dropped below that,’ Shaw said in regard to the recent home defeat to Liverpool.
‘I said to the manager the day after I was really annoyed with myself. He agreed with me and said, ‘You weren’t bad.’
The former Southampton man is excited to be playing in the Europa League final after a number of disappointments in the past. United have been in four finals in his time at the club but he is yet to play in any. He was injured for the 2016 FA Cup final, dropped by Mourinho for the 2017 League Cup final and 2018 FA Cup final and injured for the 2017 Europa League final.
‘It was disappointing not to play in those four finals,’ Shaw said.
‘They are big games at big times and are big opportunities to show yourself and I feel like I missed out on them. Hopefully this time I can be involved in the final and win it.’
Shaw also spoke candidly about his ambitions and expectations for United going forward.
‘We’re going in the right direction and you can see the improvement. But if I’m speaking honestly, we’ve still got a lot to learn,’ he said.
‘We want to be winning the Premier League and in the Champions League, challenging for that, but obviously we’re not at the moment. Those are our expectations and aims in the future.’