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Luke Shaw-shank Redemption!
When English full-back Luke Shaw was bought for £27 million by Manchester United from Southampton in 2014 there was much expectation about his potential – nearly three years on and the 21-year-old is fighting to save his Old Trafford career. For such a youthful player, he only has between now and the end of May to redeem himself in the eyes of his boss to prevent being sold in the summer. Morgan Schneiderlin (Everton), Memphis Depay (Lyon) and Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire) were in similar positions to Shaw and could not escape being sentenced to the exit door, although all three are doing well at their new clubs, seeing more game time and goals, with Dutch star Memphis scoring a halfway line goal in Ligue 1 in a 4-0 thrashing of Toulouse last month which is a must watch.
Shaw saves United in sticky Toffees situation!
The young left-back has been publicly criticized by Red Devils’ manager Jose Mourinho in recent weeks, with the Portuguese refusing to heap praise after he won the penalty in the 1-1 draw with Everton last Tuesday night, instead claiming his ‘brain was in Shaw’s body’. The ex-Saints man came on as a substitute – only because of an injury – with the Toffees 1-0 up in the Premier League encounter thanks to a Phil Jagielka finish at Old Trafford, as his shot was blocked on the line by the hand of Ashley Williams. The ‘Benjamin Button’ of football – Swede supremo Zlatan Ibrahimovic – bagged the resulting penalty in stoppage time. Mourinho used the post-match interviews to remark how United’s young players need to ‘grow up’ and Shaw only played well because he was on the touchline were the ex-Chelsea coach was standing, so he could instruct him of when to press and what to do. The self-proclaimed Special One felt if he was positioned on the other side of the pitch, Shaw would have been lost in the Everton draw without his ‘brain’.
This came after he was completely left out of the match-day squad in the 0-0 draw with West Brom, with even reserve team players like ex-Arsenal midfielder Matthew Willock making the bench. Mourinho questioned the left-back’s ‘commitment, focus and ambition’, suggesting his training displays were not on par compared to fellow full-backs Daley Blind, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Matteo Darmian. Young defenders Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe are also looking to break into the Red Devils first-team and have made the bench when United have been recently overcome with injuries and fixtures. Shaw gained his first league start against Sunderland at the weekend since an underwhelming 1-1 draw with Bournemouth in early March.
The (Luke) Shawshank Redemption
The acclaimed film ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ starring Morgan Freeman is as old as surviving Shaw, with both Shaw and the famous prison movie coming into this world in 1995. The 21-year-old Englishman has taken the public humiliation on board and the England international seems to be on the road to redemption with his manager. He even received some rare Mourinho praise after the 3-0 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Sunday. Even if he is to depart in the next transfer window, the Kingston-born defender wants to at least be Going in Style. Mourinho stated there was a ‘very solid performance’ in the Sunderland victory from the former world’s most expensive teenager, with David Moyes’ side now seeming doomed to the drop this season after another defeat and blank Black Cats display in front of goal. Mourinho explained that the only reason Shaw was taken off after 70 minutes on Wearside was because he was on a booking and that ‘the attitude is improving’.
The 3-0 win proved to be an important three points in the race for Champions League football next campaign, especially after beleaguered Arsenal lost 3-0 to London rivals Crystal Palace tonight, as United now sit fifth, with the Gunners down to sixth. United face Anderlecht in the Europa League and then the Easter Bunny has really delivered in the football fixtures, with league leaders Chelsea coming to Old Trafford on Easter Sunday.
Homepage photo credit: Alexsandr Osipov (CC BY-SA 2.0), via Flickr