Has Manchester United's Luke Shaw merited reports that he’ll be awarded a contract extension?
Luke Shaw’s Manchester United career hasn’t exactly panned out the way he would have hoped after agreeing a big-money move to Old Trafford from Southampton during the summer of 2014.
Under previous manager Louis van Gaal the 22-year-old showed huge signs of potential, with conjecture already starting over whether he could become one of the United greats in the future.
But a horrific injury picked up against PSV in the Champions League in October 2015, allied with a managerial change, has seen Shaw drop further down the United pecking order over the past year.
During his comeback under Jose Mourinho things haven’t exactly gone smoothly, with the Portuguese boss – as per The Sun – openly criticising his dedication and fitness more than once.
However, fresh reports surfacing from The Sun understand that the Manchester United manager is considering offering the young left-back a 12-month contract extension as they look to protect the £27 million investment they made just over three years ago, with Shaw’s current deal running out next June.
Shaw is edging closer to a return to action after suffering yet another injury towards the end of last season and he’s impressed Mourinho during a number of cameo appearances for the Under-23 side.
This will come as a huge relief for Shaw after an uncertain period last season, and as long as he manages to avoid further injury he has the chance to finally prove himself on the biggest stage at Old Trafford.
If anybody was to pinpoint a potential weak link in the current Manchester United side, despite a rampant start to the season, then that would almost unanimously be Daley Blind in the left-back role, and despite his valuable ability to slot in he doesn’t have the desire to push forward like Shaw does.
Much like the great left-backs of United’s past – such as Dennis Irwin and Patrice Evra – he has a natural instinct to join attacks, making himself available on the overlap to put crosses into the box.
This style of play has reaped its rewards in the past, and with large target-man and out-and-out striker Romelu Lukaku set to occupy the box this year Shaw’s ability to provide assists could be key.
It is not just his ability in the opposition third that makes the ex-Southampton man so reliable though, as he is also a clever footballer and has developed an excellent knack of reading the game.
Despite being nowhere near peak fitness, and suffering from recurring injuries, there were enough glimpses of the Shaw from his time at Southampton last season to give him hope of a career revival.
And with a potential 12-month contract extension on the horizon, Shaw will now have the incentive required to step up his return to the first-team and show exactly what United paid all that money for.
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