Upon the release of Mata’s autobiography Suddenly A Footballer: My Story, the Spaniard penned personal messages to all of his teammates as he gifted them copies.
In the copy he sent to Shaw, Mata wrote “To my friend Luke, you can be the best left-back in the Premier League, believe it!”
Juan Mata's message to Luke Shaw in 2019 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/H0yPRoK9G4
— utdreport (@utdreport) June 30, 2021
The midfield maestro’s words of encouragement did not take long to take effect, as only a year later Shaw’s fantastic form has seen him named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year, officially recognised as the best left-back in the league.
Starting with blistering form after the return from the COVID suspension in June 2020, Shaw has gone from strength to strength in an unrivalled resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The left-back has recently took to the media to speak of former manager José Mourinho’s lack of belief in him but he managed to remain motivated by the support for him around the club, including Juan Mata.
Picking up Manchester United’s Players’ Player of the Year award to go with his inclusion in the league team of the year, Shaw has shown consistency and dominance both defending and attacking.
The plaudits are not only coming in the red of United though.
Currently starring for England at the Euros, Shaw has created five chances in the tournament, more than any other England player and played a key role in both of England’s goals against Germany.
To go along with his chance creation, Shaw’s composure on the ball has also seen him ranked fourth at the Euros in ball retention after the group stages.
An ability United have relied on to play out from the back often throughout the year, playing a key role in why United attack so heavily from the left.
At still only 25 years old Shaw has many years to come to build on his impressive year, and with his birthday coming the day after the Euros finals, the Englishman will be looking to add another trophy to his personal accolades for the season.
Perhaps looking to go further than just best left-back in the league but rather best left-back in the world.