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Luke Shaw keen to continue impressive form

In Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to league leaders Chelsea, 19-year-old left-back Luke Shaw excited fans with a thrilling performance. The Englishman screeched down the left side of the pitch as he penetrated the Chelsea defence with his uncatchable speed. This was Shaw’s first start in a match since he was taking off against Arsenal in the FA Cup due to an injury in his back. He was pleased with his personal performance saying that it might have been his best with United yet.

“I felt really good on the pitch. I got forward a lot, but I think everyone was brilliant and we could have got more from the game. It was just one of those days – we had a lot of chances and just couldn’t put them away.

“I haven’t been playing and there have been a lot of negative comments about me. It is something that isn’t nice and I’ve tried to ignore it, and hopefully this game is the start of me coming back.”

After his incredible solo performance, Shaw has silenced many of his critics. After a slow start to his career at Manchester United, Shaw is looking to live up to his £28 milion price tag. In the match at Chelsea, Shaw’s speed and composure proved to have too much pace for the Branislav Ivanovic and the Chelsea defence. Shaw was constantly sprinting behind Chelsea’s backline and was getting accurate crosses into the box throughout the match. According to Squawka, Shaw had a 98% pass accuracy, created three chances and had two shots.

Shaw thanked his family and friends for their support through his transition to Manchester United, including during his recent recovery. He also applauded the assistance of manager Louis van Gaal’s confidence in him, by giving him opportunities in important matches.

“Over the last three weeks, I have learned a lot from him [Van Gaal] and credit goes to him for trusting me in a big game like this one. He has two sides to him, but he is genuinely a really nice guy and a great manager.”

It seems that the best quality of Luke Shaw’s game is his unmatchable speed. Antonio Valencia, who is currently playing as a right-back, also possesses immense pace, however he does not have the mindset of a fullback the way that Shaw does. Shaw can run forward and join the attack, and moments later, he can be making huge plays in the defence. His knowledge of his own whereabouts on the field is far superior to those of Valencia. This was seen when Eden Hazard scored the lone goal in United’s loss on the weekend,  Valencia stood still and watched as the Belgian snuck in behind the defence and slipped a left-footed shot past goalkeeper David De Gea.

Utilising the speed of Shaw can be a massive accessory in United’s attack. His ability to trot up the field and back is phenomenal. He can become the ultimate fullback, and with time, he might become one of the best defenders in Europe. With the potential UEFA Champions League qualification next season, Shaw’s talent could be viewed on a larger stage. As long as he continues to show consistency for United, Shaw could potentially be a long-term first team player. Shaw is hoping for advancement next year saying,

“We want to keep improving so that we can come out firing next season.”

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