Luke Shaw was settling into the best form of his career at Manchester United before the season hit an unexpected break.
Unpredictably, Shaw began to thrive as part of a back three in central defence, a role he had never played for United before.
And then when United reverted to a back four he reclaimed his left-back spot from young upstart Brandon Williams.
The lockdown posed a challenge for Shaw, as with all of the players, to stay fit and in peak condition.
Shaw’s conditioning has been an element he has struggled with at times in his United career, and while some of the criticism has been unfair, it is not necessary here.
As this picture from Saturday’s training game at Old Trafford shows, Shaw is in great shape in preparation for United’s restart.
Shaw has a few challenges ahead as United get started up again on Friday June 19.
Firstly he has to try and win the battle with Williams for United’s left-back spot.
If he is going to do that then he needs to start becoming more of a force offensively and contribute with goals and assists.
A March strike in the FA Cup win away at Derby County was an encouraging step in the right direction, but doing this, regularly, at Premier League level, is the aim.
Then if Shaw is asked to drop in as part of a back three again, he needs to be up to the task. As a position he has not played regularly, he might not find it so easy to step up where he left off.
Shaw’s good conditioning is a positive sign, that he is ready to step his game up further when United resume.
There is a lot on the line for United, especially in the early games against Tottenham and Sheffield United and then followed by the FA Cup quarter-final.
Everybody needs to be firing on all cylinders, and as one of the more senior players in United’s squad even at the relatively young age of 24, Shaw has to set a positive example.
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