In Jose Mourinho’s time at Manchester United, Ashley Young has started far more often than Luke Shaw. Mourinho publicly blasted Shaw last year about his professionalism and his personality. As a result, in Manchester United’s first match this season against Leicester City, it was delightful to see Luke Shaw start well. That is, the left-back found a massive foothold in his Manchester United career. Luke Shaw will undoubtedly need to build upon this strong start.
How Can Luke Shaw Start Regularly?
Be a Warrior
Luke Shaw must remember that Jose Mourinho loves warriors. He loves players that will put their bodies on the line for the team and the manager. While at Chelsea, Mourinho favored Diego Costa because of his raw aggression when trying to force a football over the goal-line. Even at Manchester United, Mourinho loved how the 35-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave everything until the final whistle. Costa and Ibrahimovic were heavily criticized about their playing style and age, respectively. That is, Mourinho seems to love players that can rise above criticism. Luke Shaw can make the left-back position his own by showcasing an unwavering dedication while training and while on the pitch.
Offer Something Different
When Ashley Young plays at left-back, he often looks average. Specifically, Young remains relatively solid in defense, but he offers little going forward unless he switches to his right foot. For Luke Shaw, this represents an opportunity. Shaw can deliver dangerous aerial crosses into the box with his left foot. He’s particularly effective when Manchester United’s left winger has the ball and he makes an overlapping run. Additionally, he offers sensational bursts of acceleration when up against an opposing defender. In contrast, Ashley Young simply cannot offer Manchester United the same tools in attack. Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Luke Shaw start if he plays to his strengths.
In Jose Mourinho’s Leicester City post-match press conference, he noted how Luke Shaw provided a practically perfect performance. Luke Shaw would do well to examine exactly what he did to earn such praise. First and foremost, he looked solid as a rock while defending. Throughout the entire match, he was bested only once. Additionally, Shaw picked his moments to move into attacking positions. That is, he was responsible and refused to leave space behind him for Leicester City players to exploit. In a Jose Mourinho team, defending is objective number one. Only after creating a watertight defense does he think about attacking. While plenty of Manchester United fans and even Luke Shaw himself might disagree with this philosophy, it is simply the way the Portuguese operates. Naturally, Luke Shaw needs to buy into Jose Mourinho’s style in order to start regularly.
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