Luke Shaw was left out of the England squad announced this week as he continues his efforts to return from injury.
Shaw’s absence is notable because England’s squad does not include a recognisable left-back.
England’s defensive options are: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Eric Dier, Joe Gomez, Michael Keane, Tyrone Mings, Kieran Trippier, and Kyle Walker.
The door then is quite clearly open for Manchester United’s Luke Shaw to claim a starting spot as his own for Euro 2021.
It is notable of course that Ben Chilwell, Shaw’s direct rival, also missed out on the squad through injury.
United v Chelsea battle
This is the latest in a series of big moves from Chelsea as they look to strengthen for 20/21.
Chilwell will get the chance to test himself in the Champions League and enhance his own reputation in the process.
Shaw has a battle on his hands to nail down England’s left-back spot, but it is one he can win.
The Manchester United defender’s form was excellent prior to his injury and the Red Devils did not lose a match between late January and July when Shaw was in the line up.
Shaw’s absence was felt as United suffered two semi-final defeats, and supporters have gained a new-found appreciation for the left-back, and the way he links up so well with Marcus Rashford.
There is still work for Shaw to do. He must becoming more productive in an attacking sense, but there is no doubting how impressive his form has been in 2020 since re-establishing himself in the team.
Competition helps Shaw
Competition from young talent Brandon Williams appeared to bring out the best in Shaw.
Williams broke through when Shaw was injured in late 2019 and there were doubts as to whether he would reclaim his spot in the United side.
This led to one of Shaw’s best spells of form in his United career in 2020.
The motivation to beat Chilwell to become England’s top left-back will also be a driving factor for him this coming year. He will feel relieved Chilwell has also missed this latest Three Lions squad.
There may also be a renewed challenge for club and country too from Williams over the next year.
As an outsider, Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka is also a contender to work his way into the England squad if he continues at left-back for the Gunners.
So Shaw cannot afford to be complacent at all, and that’s the way it should be. He needs to push on and carry on where he left off. This could be a big season for him.
- Solskjaer offers update on Sergio Romero and Phil Jones
- Alejandro Garnacho scores first goals for United’s academy
- Diogo Dalot stars for Milan and United loan looks like a masterstroke already
- Four Manchester United selection dilemmas v Arsenal
- How to watch Manchester United in FA Youth Cup semi-final and final
- Solskjaer may have struck gold with new formation change
- Gary Neville impressed by Donny Van de Beek’s performance
- Manchester United linked with Ajax prodigy Ryan Gravenberch
- United loanee Andreas Pereira features for Lazio in Champions League draw