Ralf Rangnick's comments bring cause for concern for Luke Shaw
Last September, Ralf Rangnick questioned whether left-back Luke Shaw was capable of reaching the level required to play for Manchester United.
Fast forward 14 months later and it looks like the German coach could be managing Shaw for the remainder of the season.
The 63-year-old is close to agreeing terms to becoming Manchester United’s interim manager until the end of the season and then he will take up a two-year consultancy role at the club, according to the Athletic.
But in September 2020, speaking on Shaw, Rangnick said: “They [Manchester United] could do with a left-back, I know they have Luke Shaw but I’m not so sure if he’s still on the same kind of level you need for a club like Manchester United.”
A lot has changed since the head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow made those comments about the England international.
Shaw form up and down
Rangnick’s criticism of Shaw came when United were in the midst of an awful start to the season.
Following the delayed start to the season due to ‘Project Restart’, United began the new campaign with crushing home defeats to Crystal Palace and Tottenham.
But after a tricky start to the season, Shaw kicked on and became a key player in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
His 32 appearances in the Premier League last season are the most he has managed since joining from Southampton (Transfermarkt).
In February, Shaw registered four assists in three Premier League matches and his only goal of the campaign was a crucial strike in the 2-0 win at Manchester City, which showcased his marauding attacking qualities.
Following a strong year at club level, Shaw earnt a recall into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the European Championships.
After being an unused substitute in the first group game against Croatia, Shaw went on to start every game, getting crucial assists against Germany and Ukraine, en-route to the final, where he opened the scoring with a piledriver of a half volley.
However, since returning to United following his European Championship exploits, Shaw and Harry Maguire’s performances for United have not been anywhere near good enough.
The pair look a couple of strangers who have never played with one and other before.
There have been times this season that Solskjaer rushed Shaw back instead of giving Alex Telles a chance to kick on, notably after the Champions League game against Villarreal at Old Trafford, where the Brazilian scored a stunning volley to get us back in the match.
The former Porto man had to settle for a place on the bench against Everton with Shaw restored to the starting line-up.
Rangnick’s previous comments about Shaw indicate he has reservation’s about the 26-year-old’s ability to be the club’s first choice left-back.
Telles may not get a better chance to challenge our number 23 for more game time.
Rangnick’s thoughts on Shaw may have changed since the comments he made last September, but it’s an interesting subplot as he looks set to take over at the Theatre of Dreams.
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