Jose Mourinho has ruled out selling 21-year old Manchester United star Luke Shaw in the summer.
Shaw was signed for £30 million from Southampton in the summer of 2014 by then Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal after Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea backed out of a deal due to concerns over the Englishman’s wage demands.
Mourinho is ironically now in charge of Manchester United and Shaw has struggled to break into the first team under the Portuguese manager. Many have seen this as a sign that Shaw is no longer a part of his plans, but Mourinho insists that Shaw’s struggles have been down to his fitness and that he will not sell him in the summer under any circumstances.
“What I think is that he had a very ugly injury, really ugly, that affects players not only from the physical point but also the mental impact,” Mourinho said, according to the Daily Mail. “He has had a couple of small injuries this season and needs to adapt.”
“He knows what I like in a defender, he knows that I like stability, that I don’t like mistakes, that for me it is to trust a player totally and he has to work to get it. Sometimes people forget he is only a young player with a lot to learn but I like the player and I like the boy. He will be here for sure. Leaving is out of the question.”
Shaw has only managed 14 appearances across all competitions this season and only 6 starts out of those appearances have come in the English Premier League. He is widely expected to make his first start since the end of January during tonight’s FA Cup tie against Blackburn.
The Englishman impressed in his first season at Manchester United but his progress was cruelly cut short after he was on the receiving end of a horror tackle from PSV defender Hector Moreno, leaving him with a double leg fracture.
After almost a year out of the game, Shaw finally made his first appearance in the Community Shield at the start of this season when United beat Premier League champions Leicester to lift the Community Shield.
He has since struggled to break into the team and a series of small injuries have continued to interrupt his progress, as is usually the case when a young player returns from such a lengthy absence from football.
His struggles inevitably led to him being linked with an exit from Manchester United, with Tottenham Hotspur reportedly interested in signing the 21-year old. Given that Shaw will only have a year remaining on his contract at the end of this season – albeit with the option of a 1 year extension – those rumours were only fueled by the fact that he has yet to sign a new one.
Shaw, for all his flaws, is clearly a very talented player and has a long way to go in the game. The media – especially in England – tend to write obituaries for players careers at top clubs far earlier than it is warranted.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have all been rumoured to have either fallen out with Mourinho and pushing for a move, or deemed not good enough by the manager himself and transfer listed.
Mkhitaryan has since been very impressive for United, while Mourinho recently placed faith in Rashford with his comments and Martial – who was handed a rare start in the league against Watford last weekend – scored and assisted a goal in a fine performance.
Shaw’s Old Trafford career has similarly been written off by the media over the last couple of months but one only needs to look at the examples above to see how prematurely this is done in most cases.
United fans have already seen what the left-back is capable of and at 21, he has plenty of time on his side to overcome his niggling injuries and begin to establish himself in the side. Younger players always find it difficult under Jose Mourinho but he has shown this season that he is willing to give them a chance.
He has also shown that players always have a way back into his side if they perform to expectations and that is exactly what Shaw needs to do now. Mourinho is notorious for dropping players who do not work hard in all areas of the pitch and Shaw’s attitude in that regard has been questioned before.
The Englishman needs to improve his work rate and ensure he does not shirk his defensive responsibilities when given the chance – something Mourinho openly lambasted him for earlier in the season when United were defeated by Watford.
The key thing for Shaw is to focus on his fitness and to take his chances when he finally gets them. Mourinho might be more forgiving this season but he is still a ruthless manager and Shaw must not give him any reason to doubt his commitment.