One of Manchester United’s biggest strengths this season is the depth of the first-team squad.
Jose Mourinho has assembled a roster filled with versatile players, with several members of the squad capable of filling a number of different roles. But every single team needs specialists. And if there is one area where the team is lacking a true specialist is on the left-back role.
Daley Blind has been starting on a regular basis, and Matteo Darmian has been used as an alternative as well. But neither player is a natural on the position. But Manchester United have a true, 100% natural left-back in Luke Shaw. And considering the former Southampton has spent most of the past two seasons injured, United needed to make a decision regarding his future. They could either extend his deal for another year, or let him go once he became a free agent this next summer.
And the management made a decision. United have taken up an option to extend Shaw’s contract for a further year, which means the former England international will now be under contract until the summer of 2019.
Shaw initially joined United on a four-year deal from Southampton in the summer of 2014. At the time, he was considered one of the top prospects in the English Premier League, and was already a part of the England national team. But he has been dealing with several injuries over the past few years, and that has not allowed him to showcase his true potential. In fact, the left-back has made just one appearance for United this season, coming off the bench in last week’s Carabao Cup win over Burton Albion. Shaw is reportedly working to get his fitness back following an ankle surgery this summer.
Does Shaw have space on the first-team squad anymore?
United boss Jose Mourinho said last week that Shaw had to work hard to improve and try and win back his place back in the team, but that he will get his chance to impress as the club battle for honours on four fronts. Considering the team sit at the top of the Premier League and started on the right note in both the UEFA Champions League and the Carabao Cup, there will plenty of minutes for Shaw to get back into the first-team scenario. Now he has to earn his minutes.
And who knows? Maybe United maintain faith in the former Southampton star after all. But considering how well the team has performed of late, Shaw might not get many chances to impress. He needs to take advantage of every single opportunity he can find in order to impress the coaching staff. The talent is still there, but he needs to put it together.
The management showed their trust with this contract extension. Now it’s Shaw’s time to shine and recover the first-team role he lost in the past.