After winning the Manchester United Player of the Season award in 2019, Luke Shaw seemed to have finally reached the potential his record price tag attached to him back in 2014. The London-born defender looked set to become one of the best left-backs in the world. However, a broken leg in 2015 set him back significantly.
The player who looked so confident before was now hardly a shadow of his former self and struggled tremendously with fitness issues. In 2018/19, however, he had a comeback season, with very impressive performances in what was a largely dismal campaign for the Red Devils.
At the beginning of this season it seemed that once again, he had taken a step backwards. Despite this, the 24-year-old has looked very solid in 2020, and could finally be becoming the great defender many believed he could be.
Luke Shaw and His Miraculous Recovery of Form
Disappointing Start to the Season
Expected to hit the ground running following a high point at the end of the previous season, Shaw did anything but. This campaign’s start saw the former Southampton defender look sloppy and very unfit. United fans were calling for him to be sold, and not without good reason. When he suffered yet another injury in September, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer called in Ashley Young and Brandon Williams to fill the gap.
Young was solid, as always, but it was a risky move to give Williams his first Premier League start. Their academy graduate was, however, a resounding success. He seemed to rejuvenate United’s backline and provided Shaw with some competition. Despite this, the underperforming left-back continued to disappoint, and Williams came back in for victories against Norwich City and Burnley.
This was, however, until the arrival of Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese has had a positive impact on so many players, and one of the more notable improvements is Shaw. In addition to having impressed in a new position — left-sided centre-back — the Englishman has looked all-round improved. He seems more energized, and the competition with Williams may have been another reason for that.
For the majority of his time in Manchester, there has been nobody to challenge Shaw, but with Williams now in the mix, he needs to impress in order to retain his place in the starting team. They have developed a good partnership when playing together too, with Williams as a more advanced left-back and Shaw on the left of a central defensive trio.