Luke Shaw has insisted he will fight for his place under Jose Mourinho this season after making a return to action for the reserves on Monday.
The Englishman begun life under Mourinho with a handful of strong performances at left-back before being publicly criticised by his boss following Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat to Watford, during which he also picked up an injury. He was henceforth consigned to the periphery of proceedings, managing just 70 minutes of Premier League action from October to March.
Ahead of United’s clash with Everton in April, Mourinho made it clear that Shaw’s level of commitment in training was by no means good enough to merit a place in the starting XI. The two then held a private meeting and the left-back vowed he would prove him wrong and went on to produce impressively energetic displays against Sunderland and Anderlecht – receiving praise from his boss following the latter – before suffering a season-ending injury against Swansea City.
He made a return to action for Ricky Spragia’s Under 23s against Swansea City on Monday night, playing for 58 minutes, and noted after the game that he was ready to impose himself on Mourinho’s set-up ahead of a month that will see United begin their Champions League and League Cup campaigns.
“One of the lads on the pitch said ‘that mustn’t have been good for you’ but I said ‘no, listen, I need to go through this’ because after you’ve been out for a while, you need those tackles earlier on than later because sometimes you think about it,” he said.
“I feel strong, feel like normal and now I just need to keep fit and push on.
“When I look back at the [injury] I had last time, I think I’ve came back stronger this time and more positive. Now it’s about getting time on the pitch. I’m feeling really good and hungry for this season.
“It’s down to the manager now. We’ve had two very impressive 4-0 wins so it’s going to be challenging to get back into the team. But that’s why I’ve come to United because I want to be in the team and I want to be playing week in, week out.
“When the manager is ready, I’m ready.”