You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. And with Luke Shaw out, Manchester United fans are beginning to miss him.
Shaw divides opinion at United and has done for a while. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a big fan and started Shaw in every match of United’s unbeaten run – which ended at the weekend with the left-back out injured.
Even in these post-lockdown matches though, Shaw’s performances drew praise and criticism in equal measure.
Now with him out of the side nursing an ankle injury sustained against Southampton, several of his critics are beginning to change their opinion and realise what he offers to the side.
Stand-ins not quite the same
Timothy Fosu-Mensah filled in for Shaw against Palace and then Brandon Williams did so in the FA Cup semi-final and against West Ham.
Williams had a better game last night than at Wembley, but that was the minimum requirement.
He struggled to get any kind of link up going with Marcus Rashford, and this is where Shaw has been able to excel lately.
Rashford is a better player when he has Shaw behind him and making overlapping runs, the same chemistry with Williams is not there yet.
As a team United just look so much more cohesive with him in it.
What is the latest on Shaw?
Shaw suffered an ankle injury against Southampton, missed the Palace game, and then was ruled out of the semi-final against Chelsea.
His status was unaddressed by Solskjaer at his press conference ahead of the West Ham fixture. You would think it will be a topic of questioning from reporters for Solskjaer ahead of the Leicester game this weekend.
PremierInjuries.com list Shaw as having a ‘swollen ankle’ and having a 50 per cent chance of returning this weekend.
Solskjaer will be reluctant to put Shaw in if he is not 100 per cent for this Sunday’s crucial game. But behind the scenes he will surely be imploring his medical staff to see what can be done to get the defender ready.
‘Luke Shaw’ was trending in Manchester after the West Ham game, which showed how much he was missed in this one.
While some of that can be perceived as a knock against Williams, it doesn’t have to be.
Williams is just 19, in his first season in the first team, and United have a lot at stake with a Champions League place resting on just one final game.
United fans just want the club’s top left-back to be fit to play, and it is undisputed at this point, Shaw is first choice where Solskjaer is concerned.
Here is a look at some of the tweets from supporters gaining a new found appreciation for Luke Shaw…
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