Luke Shaw is available for Manchester United this week and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be tempted to put him back into the line-up. He shouldn’t.
Brandon Williams did not have a great game against Villa, and Shaw’s big game experience makes him an attractive option.
Perhaps against City, this could be the move. Picking Shaw versus former boss Jose Mourinho is asking for trouble.
Shaw’s defensive limitations were still on show in his return against Astana last week. Mourinho would relish in picking him apart.
Shaw’s time under Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford was a very testing period for him.
Mourinho pushed him hard, and made clear that at times he was very unhappy with the defender.
Even after one positive display, Mourinho took all the credit, saying: “He had a good performance but it was his body with my brain. He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him.”
In turn, The Guardian reported Shaw felt singled out for criticism and did not like the way Mourinho publicly talked him down.
Shaw did turn it around, enough to earn a new contract, but old habits die hard for Mourinho as he took a dig at Shaw on Sky this season during United’s win over Chelsea.
Mourinho said: “Maguire is attracted to cover Luke Shaw, and he has to learn that he has to do this a lot of times, during the season he will learn he needs to do that.” [Metro]
Mourinho will instruct his team to target Shaw and use his inside knowledge of the full-back’s tendencies to give his Tottenham side an edge.
Brandon Williams is the unknown
Brandon Williams is United’s alternative option at left-back for the fixture. He’s the one Solskjaer should pick.
Williams is raw, he has a lot of work to do, but Mourinho does not know him inside out like he does Shaw.
This makes him more unpredictable, more difficult to plan for, and United need to use this as an advantage.
Picking Shaw would play straight into Mourinho’s hands. He won’t be able to believe his luck.
The other side of it is Shaw may be fired up and determined to prove a point, but its still a big risk, and one United don’t need to take.
Mourinho has been playing his Tottenham full-backs high up the pitch. Williams’ attack minded game could give them pause for thought, and take advantage of risks they want to take.
The teenager is still learning, and hindsight may end up suggesting that he was not the right pick, but going into the game, there are more red flags over the potential selection of Shaw.
It is tempting to bring Shaw back in. He’s experienced, he’s recently got minutes under his belt. But it’s too risky.
Getting undone by Mourinho and exposed in a big game could be a situation he does not recover from.
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