Luke Shaw, the rebirth confirmed

“Maybe I deserve credit myself because a lot of people maybe doubted my ability to be part of the team and play. But I kept my head down, I continued to work hard and I hope I can keep this responsibility for the manager. ” This is what Luke Shaw (25) said after his masterclass during England’s victory against Ukraine (4-0) in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020. What perfectly summarizes his strange trajectory and his impressive ramp-up with Manchester United and the Three Lions, before the final of this European Nations Championship this Sunday (9 p.m., to be followed live with commentary on FM).

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Recruited by Manchester United at Southampton for € 37.5m, the English left-back arrives at Old Trafford with his studs full of promise when he is only 18 years old. His progress was quickly stopped by a terrible injury that occurred in September 2015: a double open fracture of the leg caused by a killer tackle from Hector Moreno, one evening of the Champions League against PSV. It will obviously take long months (288 days, 51 games missed) to find the grounds and his career has even almost ended. Especially since Louis van Gaal and José Mourinho did not really know how to help Luke Shaw showed all the extent of his abilities during their passage on the bench of the Red Devils.

A great 2020-2021 season

But now, the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has allowed the native of Kingston upon Thames to bounce back and forget his past problems, as we explained to you a few months ago. Ended the repeated injuries and the sawtooth performances under the leadership of the Norwegian, who perfectly handled the Luke Shaw case. Sparkling under the Mancunian tunic throughout the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the former Saints player played 47 games in all competitions, scoring 1 goal and delivering 6 assists. What to be rewarded with the title of best player of the season by his teammates, where Bruno Fernandes received this honorary trophy from the supporters, like Luke Shaw in 2018-2019.

Above all, his performances caught the eye of Gareth Southgate. The coach of the Three Lions thus recalled Shaw in March 2021 when his last call-up for the England team dated back to September 2018. His presence in the list of 26 players called up for Euro 2020 was only the logical reward of his very good season in club. However, nothing predestined him a starting place during the competition against the competition of Ben Chilwell, expected as the incumbent at the post, or Kieran Trippier.

Incredible rise in strength at the Euro

The Atlético de Madrid player is even preferred to him on the left by Gareth Southgate in the first group match against Croatia (1-0). But during the draw against Scotland (0-0), Luke Shaw is established by the English technician. Enough to mark the start of the Manchester United defender’s show, who convinced Southgate to give him the keys to the left lane. Especially since Luke Shaw took advantage of Chilwell’s isolation (contact case) to consolidate his place in this Euro. His rise to power was materialized by a remarkable and decisive performance (2 assists) against Germany in the round of 16 (2-0). What to fill up with confidence for Luke Shaw who, after the Nationalmannschaft, did it again.

In the quarterfinals, against Ukraine, he achieved what is, to date, probably the best match of his international career in Rome, the scene of José Mourinho’s new club, ironically. Shaw was named man of the match by the British press, given a score of 9 by The Telegraph, The Guardian or Sky Sports. « I could thank a lot of people, but I think the most important thing is obviously Gareth, for trusting me, putting me on the team and choosing me to play », released the Red Devil about his coach at the end of the meeting.

Against Denmark, in the semifinals, he proved that he has become indispensable to England. If Luke Shaw is playing completely liberated and is clearly at 100% of his abilities, both physically and mentally, it is above all his complicity with Raheem Sterling, one of the best players of Euro 2020, which is a treat across the Channel. The Kingdom of His Majesty will be able to count on a Luke Shaw in full possession of his means and who has removed all the doubts expressed in his regard, so that England wins the Euro for the first time in its history, in its garden, at Wembley.

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