Luke Shaw believes his Manchester United form owes to the way he has been man-managed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Shaw is in the best form of his Old Trafford career, having played 36 times this season. He’s also got a goal to his name – at Man City – and weighed in with six assists. That form has earned a recall to the England squad and Shaw now looks a good bet to win selection for the European Championships.
It’s a rollercoaster six years for Shaw at Old Trafford. After the highs that followed his £30m move from Southampton in 2014, have come the lows of that double leg break against PSV Eindhoven. In between which, there have been some very public lambastings from former boss Jose Mourinho.
Many felt Shaw was scapegoated by the Portuguese firebrand. However, his dismissal in December 2019 has brought a change in luck for Shaw. And since signing a new deal, the player has gone from strength to strength under Solskjaer.
Indeed, Shaw credits the way the Norwegian has managed him as a factor behind his fine form.
“His man-management is second to none,” Shaw told Sky Sports. “The way he conducts himself in terms of how he speaks to the players, it gets the best out of them. You can see that.
“He deals with situations perfectly in terms of what is needed, especially at a big club like Manchester United.
“He takes the pressure off the lads and takes it all himself. Sometimes it is not fair because we are the ones on the pitch and we need to take our fair share too. For me, especially, from what I had before Ole came in, it is a total difference. It has pushed me to a new level.”
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Mourinho criticism hurt me – Shaw
Shaw was often overlooked with Ashley Young getting the nod at United during the latter’s later years at Old Trafford. Shaw eventually clawed his place back as Young departed for Inter Milan. The 25-year-old went on to win United’s Player of the Year award in 2018.
Indeed, the player is now tipped to earn another contract extension on the back of this season’s significant progress.
Looking back to his time under Mourinho, Shaw has admitted he didn’t always handle the criticism well.
“I don’t want to come across like I was a little kid who could not deal with being put under pressure. Because at a big club like Manchester United you are always going to be under pressure and under the spotlight. That makes you mentally stronger,” said Shaw.
“But I had no confidence at that time. I was losing my belief. I think that is what changed with Ole. He managed me right and I got my confidence back and I am really enjoying it at the moment.
“Enjoyment and confidence. For me, they are the two biggest things you need on the pitch. You need that belief in your ability to perform at the highest level. I feel I have that now.”