Luke Shaw joined Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the pre-Roma press conference and was asked about his impressive 2020/21 form.
While United’s season started off a little rocky, after deadline day when United brought in Alex Telles at left-back, Shaw has upped his game and has not looked back.
Shaw told the club website he partly attributes Solskjaer with his success.
Shaw said: “
I think a lot of things. I think one of them is the manager sat next to me, I’m not just saying that because he’s sat here! But of course, he’s one of them.
“I think, of course, myself as well. I’ve changed a lot of things; I’ve added more belief in myself and I feel a lot more confident. The most important thing is I’m just enjoying playing football again and I think that’s a very important thing to have in our job. You need to be enjoying it and I’m doing that.“
How good really is Shaw?
A recent statistic was shared by WhoScored which shows Shaw has created 66 goalscoring chances this season – the same as Lionel Messi.
In the Premier League he ranks fifth for chances created, with Bruno Fernandes one of the players in front of him.
A deeper dive into his figures shows Shaw is among the best in Europe compared to his contemparies.
Data from FBRef compares Shaw favourably with other full-backs in Europe’s top five leagues.
- Shaw ranks in the top seven per cent of full-backs for creating chances from open play.
- He ranks inside the top two per cent of full-backs for chances created from dead ball situations.
- Shaw is in the top 20 per cent of full-backs for assists.
- Defensively Shaw ranks in the top 10 per cent of full-backs for tackling opponents who try to dribble past him.
- Shaw ranks in the top 13 per cent of full-backs for making tackles in the opposition third.
- Shaw ranks inside the top two per cent of full-backs for completing passes when under pressure.
- Shaw is in the top two per cent of full-backs making dribbles into the final third.
We could go on and on. These numbers are just a snapshot of how Shaw compares favourably to his contemparies across Europe.
To be inside the top two per cent of players in his position for key passes, completing passes under pressure, and moving the ball into the final third, shows how well he is playing.
His success at creating chances from open play also dismisses suggestions Shaw is simply relying on set pieces for his chances created statistics.
Improving his attacking quality was important for Shaw heading into this season, especially with a player like Alex Telles coming in, who was supposed to redefine United’s attack from the left-back position. Instead Shaw has done it by himself.
Defensively Shaw is strong too, as shown by him ranking inside the top 10 per cent of full-backs for tackling players trying to take him on.
Shaw’s improvement has made him one of the favourites to win United’s player of the year award. He is a far better player now than when he won it in 2019.
He will be expected to perform well on the big stage this evening against Roma. The way he has been playing this season, United supporters have every reason to be confident he will contribute in an important way.
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