Luke Shaw: A Fall From Grace

Luke Shaw
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Luke Shaw of Man Utd in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on December 26, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw has had a particularly disappointing season in 2019/20. This is not to say, however, that he wasn’t playing poorly before that. Shaw has not looked as good as he used to ever since he broke his leg in 2015, and recently, many United fans have been calling for his replacement.

A Fall From Grace for Luke Shaw

Breaking Through

Current first-choice left-back at Manchester United, Luke Shaw became the most expensive teenage footballer when he joined United in 2014. He played well for the Red Devils in his debut season following the departure of legendary left-back Patrice Evra. This excitement, however, did not last long as the young Englishman broke his leg in the Champions League early in the 2015/16 season, ruling him out for the rest of the campaign. History shows that most players never fully recover from injuries as bad as that, making Shaw is just one of many.

Luke Shaw’s Record-Breaking Transfer

Shaw broke into the first team at Southampton early in the 2012/13 season as a 17-year-old. He was one of the most impressive and promising young players in the world, and sought after by many. Shaw played for the Saints that season and the next, but at the conclusion of the 2013/14 season, he told Southampton that he wanted to move to United. He got this movie, and Luke Shaw was made the most expensive teenager when he joined Manchester United for £31.5 million.

Shaw’s Debut Season

Luke Shaw’s Manchester United debut was delayed due to a hamstring injury, something which would be a recurring feature throughout his career. He debuted in a 2-1 victory over West Ham United, however, he had to wait until his sixth game in a United shirt for his first clean sheet there. Despite being the first choice left-back for United, Shaw appeared in less than half of their games in his debut season, mostly due to hamstring and ankle injuries. Shaw said that he would have given himself a C- if he was grading himself on his opening season in Manchester. This was largely due to the number of injury troubles he had, and these would not go away.

Haunted by Injury

Shaw’s time at Manchester United has been plagued by injury. After his injury-filled first season at Old Trafford, Shaw famously broke his leg at the beginning of his second. Following his recovery from this injury, Shaw was not the same player and has not been the same, energetic, exciting player since. The following season saw him miss its majority with groin and foot injuries, and in his next, the ongoing foot injury and a falling out with manager Jose Mourinho saw him miss almost the whole first half of the season.

Player of the Year

A new manager in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in December 2018 gave the left-back a new opportunity. He certainly took it. Luke Shaw won the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award at United. Although it did not take much to look impressive in a struggling Manchester United side, Shaw certainly did a good job. He scored one goal and registered five assists, a personal record. He certainly deserved the award, but since them that break in his underperforming pattern, he has once again looked lacklustre and generally disappointing.

Luke Shaw Has Been Poor This Season

Luke Shaw has looked poor this season, and been one of United’s worst regular starters. He looks lazy on the ball and has been poor off it. Shaw has hardly offered an attacking threat when United are going forward, as demonstrated in his no direct league goal involvements this campaign. Many Manchester United fans are calling for him to be dropped, largely due to a new player in the picture who is stepping up to the plate.

Competition Facing Luke Shaw

Shaw has not faced a large amount of competition for the left-back position during his time at Manchester United. This has changed, however, with the introduction of Brandon Williams. The youngster signed a senior contract at United in the summer of 2019 and has impressed whenever called upon. He has come up against some of the best wingers the Premier League has to offer, namely former Barcelona man Adama Traore. He has dealt with everything they have thrown at him, and it may be time to consider that Shaw could be dropped from the Manchester United starting 11.

Possible Exit

Luke Shaw has been linked with an exit from Old Trafford following his disappointing opening to the season. Current third-place team Leicester City are said to be linked to the signature of the Englishman. This comes amid speculation of Ben Chilwell’s transfer to Chelsea. Shaw is viewed by Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers as a perfect replacement for Chilwell, and Shaw could see this as an opportunity for a fresh start following his inconsistent time at United. This deal may work out for all three parties. Leicester could get the replacement they may need, Shaw gets an opportunity to start over, and United won’t have to pay the large wages of an underperforming Luke Shaw. It seems that Luke Shaw’s time at Manchester United, which has not lived up to the large expectations there once were of him, may be cut short.


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