One aspect of Luke Shaw’s comments after the recent defeat which flew under the radar more than it should have done, was a plea for boss Ralf Rangnick to provide ‘new ideas’.
Shaw was quoted by Sky Sports: “We have time now to refocus, we’ve got a long training week and maybe the manager can bring some more ideas for what he wants on the pitch.”
The left-back’s comments illustrate an unrest behind the scenes, with the players seemingly feeling a little lost and in need of direction. Performances on the pitch back this up, with United lacking cohesion and playing poorly.
A big decision upcoming over Shaw
Rangnick has a number of decisions upcoming as United prepare for the FA Cup clash with Aston Villa next Monday. One of these is the formation, and then he gets into the various individual selection dilemmas.
One which will get more attention than any other, is Luke Shaw. After making his comments and challenging his manager so publicly, it’s unclear how Rangnick will react.
Shaw is already suspended for the next Premier League game against Villa on January 15. So logic may dictate he starts the FA Cup game, to rest Alex Telles for the league match and ensure the Brazilian does not risk getting injured.
But this may depend on Rangnick’s strength of feeling towards Shaw. And the German will know, the decision he makes could have repercussions.
Shaw was not great against Wolves. In the win over Burnley he was impressive, justifying his recall to the side. Wolves made it difficult for him to get forward and make an impact, and while he was by no means one of the worst United players, he did not stand out for positive reasons either.
One of the problems Shaw’s comments creates, in addition to making it open season for the press to twist the knife into United and exaggerate dressing room unrest stories, is that should Rangnick decide to drop him, it will be viewed as retaliation for his post-match interview.
Shaw being demoted to the bench will be viewed as punishment for his comments, even if its not. Even if Rangnick makes his comments purely from a footballing perspective, viewing Alex Telles as better suited to take on Villa.
The United defender has created another distraction, putting himself at the centre of it.
Rangnick is brave enough to make the big calls, unfortunately for Shaw. It could well be that the defender’s plea for fresh ideas will backfire, with him demoted to the sidelines once again.
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