The surprising revival of Luke Shaw

An unexpected leader. Erik ten Hag was surprised to see Luke Shaw appear in his ranks for months (27). After the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the 27-year-old left-back has been impressing for several weeks now, having a very complicated start to the 2022-2023 season under the instructions of the Dutch coach. To the point of becoming an essential element of Ten Hag’s workforce, imposing himself in central defense and pushing Harry Maguire or even Lisandro Martinez to the bench. However, not everything was the expected result for the English national team (28 games, 3 goals).

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Indeed, because Erik ten Hag tried hard to lure Tyrell Malacia to Old Trafford last summer with the idea of ​​starting at left back. And Luke Shaw has not survived a nightmare start to the Red Devils’ season in the Premier League (2 defeats in a row, to Brighton, then at Brentford). It led to the Dutch manager leaving the Southampton-trained player on the bench (or sending him off) for eight consecutive games in all competitions, then bringing him on at half-time as he was humiliated in front of the detractors. Bees.

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The show made everyone agree

The heavy defeat to “Manchester City” (6-3) in the first derby of the season at the Etihad was a turning point in the duel between the two men. Malacia, completely defeated against the Sky Blues, was replaced by Shaw at half-time when the score was 4-0. The Englishman limits the damage and convinces his coach to put him in the lineup for the next match. Since then, Luke Shaw has not left a Manchester United XI that has lost just once in the league since October 9 (1-3 at Aston Villa).

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Efficient, organized and even decisive (1 assist at Chelsea, 1 goal at Bournemouth), the Kingston-upon-Thames native has raised the bar to please everyone. In addition, he has even recently proven himself in central defense. Suited for the first time against Nottingham Forest (3-0) alongside Raphaël Varane on 27 December, Luke Shaw showed a very interesting presence in the position, prompting Ten Hag to take him back to Wolverhampton (1-0) then, above all, On January 14, against City at Old Trafford (2:1).

A central defender is born

To manage Erling Haaland and his squad, Ten Hag decided to rely on the Englishman at the expense of club captain Harry Maguire or even Argentine world champion Lisandro Martinez. He took it very badly. Cyborg and Kevin De Bruyne were particularly silenced by complementary hinge Varane-Shaw. “Honestly, I was very surprised to play in this position in such a big game! » the versatile defender openly admitted after the derby victory a few days ago. And Shaw continues. “Fortunately, the manager there trusts me. »

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Far from innocuous words that contradicted the Mancunian coach at the time with terms less than those of a certain Jose Mourinho. “The show was in front of me and I made all the decisions for him. He needs to change his football mind. We need his fantastic physical and technical qualities, but he can’t keep playing with my mind.”In 2017, he released the Special One after the Premier League match. For the left side of the Three Lions, who took a new dimension at MU, that time is over anyway.

Ten Hag completely conquered

“Luke has the physicality to compete with them (Haaland and De Bruyne), as well as the tactical vision to make the right decisions and the technical skills to play in that position.He justified Erik ten Hag before praising the number 23 before the match at Crystal Palace (1-1) on Tuesday. I love how honest he is. After the second game, he did not play and said: “I understand well, my performance is not good.” He is a top class player. I don’t just mean as a team player, he’s a leader. He has shown a lot of leadership – he is a role model right now – and brings a lot to the team with his skills and physicality. But now also with his mentality. »

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And to conclude, Eric Ten Hag. “I am very pleased with his development. Whether at centre-back or left-back, he is an excellent player and a great personality for the dressing room. » With his Manchester United contract set to expire next June, Luke Shaw opted to activate his option last December, allowing him to sign a one-year extension and now being linked to the Red Devils until 2024, along with Rashford, Dalot and Fred. Proof that he (finally) feels like a fish in water at Manchester United. Weight leader Ten Hag can be proud to be part of Luke Shaw’s remarkable revival.

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