It is fair to say that if after six years at a club, a player has yet to win fans over, he may never succeed in doing so.
Luke Shaw finds himself in a position where he has made real improvements in 2020, and yet still finds himself under fire at times.
Shaw has been one of only three players to start all of United’s matches since the restart.
He is only the only player to start every single match of United’s 14-game unbeaten run dating back to January.
That is an impressive achievement considering he faced a real threat for his place from young upstart Brandon Williams, who in the meantime has not done anything wrong.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is clearly delighted with Shaw, and told a press conference on Monday: “Luke has had a good upturn in form. He had a spell out earlier on in the season and he’s worked his way to full fitness. He’s worked over the lockdown and he’s playing some good football.”
Some fans may not agree with Solskjaer’s assessment of Shaw playing ‘good football’.
After his hesitancy for Tottenham’s goal against United (in which Maguire and De Gea made bigger errors), Shaw was lumped in for criticism from a scathing Roy Keane.
Shaw was also barracked on social media in games against Sheffield United and Norwich, at times slated for poor positioning and poor crossing.
One cross attempt at Carrow Road went viral, after Shaw’s ball in zoomed over everybody in the box and back towards United’s right-back position.
But this was just one mishap which did not go so well. Another one Shaw’s crosses which led to Odion Ighalo’s opener in the 2-1 win, and he got little credit.
Shaw also chased down Teemu Pukki when he was through on goal in the first half, showing that he is far fitter than his often lazier critics would have you believe.
One of Shaw’s biggest successes in recent months has been to answer questions about his own fitness.
He is in good shape, and his durability speaks volumes. The fact Shaw has played 300 minutes in eight days speaks for itself.
Shaw actually created three chances at Norwich, and one in the win over Sheffield United.
He is showing attacking intent, and his goal before the lockdown in early March in a win over Derby showed he is capable of getting on the scoresheet.
But still, Shaw can’t win everybody over, and at this stage, he probably never will.
He is not going to transform his game overnight, yet deserves credit for how he has played in 2020. Especially as several of his performances have seen him re-adapt and play surprisingly well as a centre-back in a back three.
For Shaw to finally be appreciated, he will probably have to do something major, like score a winner at Wembley next month.
Yet a year which began so badly for him with a terrible performance away at Arsenal has blossomed into one of the best spells of his career.
At some stage you have to wipe out what has gone on before under previous managers, and just judge him on what we have seen this season.
For many that will still not be good enough. There is a nagging feeling that United can do better. There are bigger issues at United at present though, with the right wing and finding a long-term replacement for Nemanja Matic greater priorities.
Shaw has Solskjaer’s faith, and it would be nice if he could win supporters over too. At this stage it will take a lot for him to get there. He might just be destined to remain a divisive figure. So long as United keep winning, he won’t mind.
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