Jose Mourinho has faced much criticism this season, most of it justified, but his treatment of Luke Shaw and the blame for the lack of game time for the 22 year old at Old Trafford cannot be fully laid at the door of the Manchester United manager.
Jose Mourinho sees the defender day in day out at Carrington and he knows the player better than anyone. It is easy for Manchester United supporters to call on the 55 year old to install Shaw in his starting eleven, however they should question why one of the most promising defenders in English football, a player that cost a reported £30 million almost four years ago, is being kept out of the starting eleven by Ashley Young.
The 32 year old is a good player who gives his all to Manchester United but he is a winger having to do the job Mourinho clearly feels the former Southampton man cannot.
A fit Luke Shaw should have made the left back spot his own at Manchester United.
Many will say Shaw is struggling to come back from a horrific injury sustained in the Champions League under Louis Van Gaal in September 2015. Almost two and a half years on, surely that injury can now be put aside and cannot be held as the reason the player has failed to progress.
Talk of Mourinho bullying Shaw is largely exaggerated. Many former players and pundits, including ex Southampton man Matt Le Tissier, have spoken negatively of the way the Old Trafford boss has handled the player.
Former Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino, in a book by journalist Guillem Balague, titled ‘Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs’, questioned Shaw’s attitude under his guidance at the Saints.
“I felt his head was not in the right place to make the sacrifices and decisions that are necessary at that age.”
Former England manager Roy Hodgson also raised his concerns about the player and called on him to get fit having called up the player for International duty.
The England boss stood firmly with former Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal, who in the summer of 2014 ordered then 19 year old Luke Shaw to train alone and claimed “He needs to be fit and he is not very fit and fit enough to do what I want”
Yes injuries have blighted the player’s career to date but they alone cannot be blamed for the lack of progression the player has made in his short career to date.
It seems likely a parting of the ways is in store this summer as Shaw will want to play more and Mourinho will want a left back that he can trust.
It is clear Mourinho has tried everything in his power to help the player but if the player does not want to help himself then the Portuguese boss has a massive job to do at Manchester United and he cannot wait for Shaw to realise what he is throwing away.
Mourinho has spoken negatively about the player numerous times and has also labelled the player as the one of the best in the league. Nothing seems to be working.
It is clear his manager is trying to get a reaction from the player but his message is falling on deaf ears. There is no reason a 22 year old athlete should be overweight and lack fitness with all the facilities on offer to players in today’s game.
Mourinho is an easy target at the moment and all talk of bullying the player is nonsense. Are we that naive to think he has never taken the player aside for a quiet word and has just lambasted the player in public?
Luke Shaw will realise one day when maybe it’s too late that he didn’t apply himself enough, didn’t make the sacrifices needed to succeed at the top and perhaps threw away the opportunity to be one of the best that many, including Jose Mourinho believed he could be.
Luke Shaw should be heading to Russia this summer as England’s first choice left back. There is a chance he may spend the summer watching like the rest of us.
Perhaps he should use the opportunity to decide what he wants from his career.
Damien McEvoy, Pundit Arena