Jose Mourinho talked about his decision to leave defender Luke Shaw out of most of Manchester United’s games this season. The manager claimed that the English international was “a long way behind” the other United defenders.
Luke Shaw only made seven appearances for Man United in the Premier League this current season. Shaw was seen as potential first team player when he joined from Southampton in 2014 on a large transfer fee. An injury in 2015 sidelined the defender and he has not been able to convince Jose Mourinho to offer him more playing time.
Mourinho was asked by reporters about Luke Shaw’s continued absence from the team following the 0-0 draw against West Brom. The Portuguese manager did not mince words when speaking about the player. He said he is currently likely to prefer other defenders instead of Shaw. He called for the player to show commitment and focus if he is to earn a place in the team.
“It’s difficult for him to be on the bench because I cannot compare him with Ashley Young, with Matteo Darmian, with Daley Blind,” Mourinho said about Man United’s other options for defender.
“I cannot compare the way he trains, the way he commits, the focus, the ambition. I cannot compare. He’s a long way behind.”
Mourinho also made what seemed to be a sarcastic remark when asked about Shaw still featuring in England’s national team squad. Coach Gareth Southgate continues tp consistently call up the player for international games. Mourinho commented on this: “Joe Hart [former Manchester City goalkeeper] is an English international and is playing on loan in Italy.”
Former United defender Phil Neville was also critical of Shaw. Neville said he would feel embarrassment at receiving such criticism from a manager. However, the former international believes that 21-year-old Luke Shaw still has time to turn things around in his favor.
“Having played at Manchester United, I think I’d be embarrassed as a player if those accusations were levelled at me in terms of training performances,” Neville commented when speaking to Sky Sports.
“He should be Man United’s left-back; no question with the ability he’s got. Something must be going fundamentally wrong. Ashley Young played left-back on Saturday and, if I was Luke Shaw, I would be thinking ‘I should be playing ahead of Young at left-back’, regardless to how good Young is.”
“As a young person in life sometimes you need a kick up the backside and I just wonder whether it’s a tactic from Jose to give him a bit of a jolt to say ‘look, it’s now or never Luke, you’re wasting the opportunity that’s in front of you, other players are ahead of you, you’re fit, training every day, and your attitude needs to be right’.”
“He has got a chance. You’d hope to think he does. I think Jose said it a month ago. You just wonder whether these strong comments are the final effort from Jose to shake Luke into form and realisation.”