Not a large amount came from the friendly against Borussia Dortmund on Friday apart from a damn good hiding and 90 minutes worth of fitness ahead of the new season. But from beneath the muck and mire shone one of the younger members of the squad, one that should really be taking things a little easier taking into account his last 10 months. Yes, it was only a friendly, but Luke Shaw really shone in all aspects of his game against the Germans in almost u bearable conditions in Asia. And he shone that much he has earned some well-deserved adulation from one of his teammates, Ander Herrera.
The official Manchester United website report on the Spaniard’s comments on MUTV during his post-match interview about the young man’s performance against Dortmund, and it was only superlatives used.
“He has played for 90 minutes after 10 months without playing,”
“You can see he is very, very quick and sometimes when you are not used to getting the ball at your feet then you can make some mistakes, but what we want from Luke is that he gets to the last line to make some crosses and he is doing that.”
“We are very happy with him and we are very happy for him because it has been very tough for him. We have one of the best left-backs in the world and we have to take advantage of him.”
Cakes can be over-egged, and for the meantime, this is most probably what Herrera is doing. After all, 90 minutes in a friendly is no major barometer of where Shaw lies in his rehabilitation from his horrendous injury. Where it’s nothing to judge on, it should be used as encouragement for all of us supporters. Friendly or not, it’s 90 minutes negotiated unscathed. He looked strong in the tackle and surged forward with real pace and intent, it looked as though he had never been injured at all. He may not have come away with an assist but the positions Shaw found himself in were threatening and heading into the season you’d put your life savings on him providing plenty.
Where it shouldn’t be overhyped or overplayed his performance the other night, it would be cruel to deny yourself the opportunity to get a little giddy about his progression. So often players come back from these unfortunate happenings a shadow of the player they were before it happened (Antonio Valencia the best recent example of this as someone breaking their leg and never hitting the same heights). But Shaw has age on his side, and it’s this age that will see him good as he returns to regular first team action.
The impact this could have? Well, it’s like having a new signing come in. Left-back is a more important role than its perhaps given credit for (right-back also) as consistency there allows for firm partnerships with their respective wingers and offers another attacking option. Shaw has pace and a cutting edge the same as Patrice Evra once did, and he was the best in the world.