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Irwin tips Shaw for the top, but only if he applies himself

It’s been a peculiar start for Luke Shaw at Manchester United. He took the time to warm into his role, then began impressing greatly, then suffered a horrifying injury, regained fitness and lost it all in a summer and fell out with his manager following public criticism and a complete loss of form. All of which was sandwiched around some really very impressive showings for the two managers he has had in his relatively short career thus far. And as the new season rears its head Shaw faces yet more uncertainty about his future under Jose Mourinho, but perhaps not quite as much as six months ago. Everything to have happened has prompted United legend, Denis Irwin, to speak out about the Left Back in the Daily Mail, claiming he must really apply himself if he is to make a success of his United career.

Shaw has missed the majority of pre-season and is currently still in rehab following a knee operation he has last season. For a player that suffers physically, missing the whole summer is obviously a massive blow in preparation for the new season, but it could also give him further opportunity to impress an already skeptical Jose Mourinho before he decides on his squad for the coming season. Fitness has always been a worry for Shaw, and showing he means business by coming back firing on all cylinders would be the perfect way to give Mourinho reason to pick him.

Something working in his favour is there appear to be no plans to bolster in his area of the pitch. As things stand his main competition is Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind. Both, you would assume, Shaw is ahead of in terms of ability but Darmian proved himself far more reliable in his absence at the end of the season.

Irwin eludes to the fact Shaw is only 22 and still very much learning his trade, and it is important everyone around him remembers this when thinking about his future. He must learn to manage his fitness and embrace the attitude that has seen him recover from a horrific injury that would have destroyed a lesser player. His talent on the pitch isn’t in question (unless you’re Jose Mourinho) and every time he has played he has looked to be exceptional both defensively and in attack – basically everything a great full back needs to succeed – and his pace is one of his strongest attributes that needs working with as he continues to develop.

I have strong faith he can make a success of himself at Manchester United. Since the loss of Patrice Evra a strong left back has been lacking, and the importance of a stable full back cannot be played down at all. From Irwin and Evra on the left to Neville on the right, Manchester United have always had quality full backs, and there is absolutely no reason why Luke Shaw cannot be another of these if he keeps his attitude in check and his fitness high. Fail to do so, and one of the brightest talents in the English game will become just another number.

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