Why revitalised Shaw's United form is great news for England

Why revitalised Shaw's United form is great news for England
Why revitalised Shaw's United form is great news for England

Luke Shaw was infamously berated by Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho for being too chunky, but showed against Leicester that he can be the answer for Man United and England, writes Desmond Kane.

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In the end, it was all worth the weight. After a personal sojourn to Dubai in late June when he pounded the beach in searing 45-degree heat in a bid to stop his career from being stuck in quicksand, a lean and trim Luke Shaw was a man rejuvenated and relocated at Old Trafford in early August. He was also man of the match.

On opening night at the Theatre of Dreams under Friday night lights, Shaw’s appetite was matched only by his ability to impress. On this form, it won't be too long before he comes home for England.

FULL MATCH REPORT: Pogba and Shaw give United opening-day win over Leicester

A left-back derided as being too fat to succeed in a United shirt by current and former coaches, Shaw used the Premier League opener to provide food for thought.

Certainly, whatever Jose Mourinho digests from the 2-1 win over a game Leicester City, Shaw’s contribution will have sated the Portuguese’s always picky palate.

Luke Shaw of Manchester United celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old TraffordGetty Images

With Manchester United leading courtesy of captain magnifique Paul Pogba’s penalty on two minutes, Shaw provided United with the sweet smell of three points with a quite scrumptious finish late on. His first senior goal after 134 games was a thing of real beauty.

Shaw bounded onto a speculative ball from Juan Mata on 83 minutes before flicking the ball over the head of Ricardo Pereira and prodding it into the corner of the visiting net with Kasper Schmeichel unable to paw clear. It was a goal of some finesse built on some fitness.

"It was my first goal and that is all that was important, it doesn't mater how I scored,” he said.

"I was meant to come inside and I managed to get in front of him and put it in. It's the best feeling I have had in my career."

It is easy to forget Shaw is still only 23 yet he has been through the wringer in his short career, most notably suffering a horrific leg break against PSV Eindhoven in a Champions League match three years ago.

But it is the mental scars of being called a big unit, perhaps unfairly when he is clearly a powerhouse figure, that has stuck with Shaw as he has tried to make his way in the cut-throat environs of Carrington.

When United handed over a pot of gold to Southampton four years ago, Shaw was the most expensive teenager in the world. He still has time on his side and crucially the right attitude to make good on his early promise with club and country.

He is certainly a popular character among his team-mates because there was a real sense of elation when Shaw found the net with a goal straight from the back catalogue of Cantona.

Luke Shaw (R) celebrates with Manchester United's Spanish midfielder Juan Mata (C) andBelgian-born Brazilian midfielder Andreas Pereira scoring the team's second goal.Cool news

Louis van Gaal cruelly claimed Shaw was overweight in 2014, only months after United paid £27m to land the teenager from Southampton. While around 16 months ago, Mourinho publicly berated his commitment to the cause.

"I cannot compare the way he trains, the way he commits, the focus, the ambition. I cannot compare. He is a long way behind."

It is a different story now. Shaw covered 10.3km on the night, and was up and down the line with more relish than Ballyregan Bob.

“People can say I’m fat, but I always look big because I’m bigger built – I’ve got that Wayne Rooney type of body,” said Shaw last month.

Jose Mourino and Luke Shaw.Cool news

"The performance was very complete. He was very good defensively. He had a good pre-season. He maybe made one mistake in 90 minutes."

After such a chaotic build-up ahead of such a momentous night that saw United stuck in traffic to arrive only an hour before kick-off, this august evening made you wonder what all the fuss was about beforehand.

Deprived of signing a centre-half by his board, Eric Bailly was excellent for Mourinho in central defence and Pogba provided as much support as Bryan Robson wearing the captain's armband.

After Daniel Amartey handled a shot from Alexis Sanchez, Pogba converted the penalty with great certainty despite a stuttering staggered approach. This bloke can do no wrong.

A mere 26 days after helping France lift the World Cup, he looked as sharp as ever in his return to the premier stage.

Paul Pogba of Manchester United Getty Images

David de Gea continued his outstanding form, but what else do you expect from one of the world's finest goalkeepers.

He could do nothing about Jamie Vardy's close-range finish in added time. The biggest compliment you can pay Jose Mourinho's team on opening night is that they looked like a proper United side.

And after a World Cup of the willing but limited Ashley Young, young Shaw looked like England's left-back in waiting.

Desmond Kane

This article was written by cool news network.

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