Our player season review continues with a look on the season of Luke Shaw. The left-back had a tough season under Jose Mourinho. His playing time was very limited and he was often used as the scapegoat by the manager, often for no apparent reasons. The Englishman has had a rough patch for some time now and it is hard seeing him reaching the potential he was once expected to. That may also partly be his responsibility, but it seems like Luke Shaw was not handled properly during the previous season.
What do the numbers say?
The numbers say that Luke Shaw did not play much football this season. Sure, you knew that already, even without the numbers, but they really are appalling. Shaw played 789 minutes of Premier League football across 11 appearances, with one full match in Champions League. He made three apps (one start) in League Cup and four starts in the FA Cup. That aggregated to a mere 19 appearances across four competitions, with Ashley Young being preferred over him and sometimes even Mateo Darmian, whom it was obvious for the entirety of the season, had no future at this club.
Shaw’s lack of playing time makes it much harder to assess his performances through numbers. He did not have a direct attacking output in terms of goals or assists and he was making 0.9 key passes per 90 minutes. Shaw was particularly bad with his crossing and this may seem outrageous, but he had not completed a single cross in Premier League or Champions League football. He was inaccurate in every of the 32 instances when he made a cross.
Shaw offered 1.8 successful tackles per 90 which is not too bad for a full-back and he made 0.6 interceptions per 90 as well.
Was he an important player for the club?
No, unfortunately he was not. I say unfortunately because it felt like a bit too much the way Mourinho treated him publicly and it would have been much better for United if the manager was dealing with him in a more productive manner. Shaw seems like a modern player, a millennial, and he is probably not reacting to criticism the way some players did 10 or 15 years ago.
Shaw played a minor role and even that was enough for Mourinho to scapegoat him on couple of occasions. The players performances were not that terrible and few times he even had quite decent games.
Projection for the 2018-19 season
It is very hard seeing Luke Shaw getting the trust of the manager after everything that happened last season. There might be even a case for saying that the player himself would not want such thing either and that he could be leaving the club this summer. We do not know that, but it would not be a surprise to see Shaw going to some other club. Personally, my feel is that he will stay at the club and that the situation will get calmer, but his playing time will not increase much.