Luke Shaw is back in the England squad as they prepare to kick off their World Cup 2022 qualification campaign.
It’s a deserved reward after a season which has seen him improve immensely and he could well be in line to start for the Three Lions at this summer’s rearranged Euro 2020.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Shaw made it clear that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has played a huge role in his transformation.
Solskjaer took over at a time when Jose Mourinho had darkened the mood around Old Trafford and damaged the confidence of players including Shaw.
“I don’t want to come across like I was a little kid who could not deal with being under pressure because at a big club like Manchester United you are always going to be under pressure and under the spotlight.
“That makes you mentally stronger. But I had no confidence at that time. I was losing my belief. That is what changed with Ole. He managed me right and I got my confidence back and I am really enjoying it at the moment.
You need that belief in your ability to perform at the highest level. I have that now. His man-management is second to none. The way he conducts himself, how he speaks to the players, it gets the best out of them.
“He takes the pressure off the lads and takes it all himself. Sometimes it is not fair because we need to take our fair share too. From what I had before Ole came in, it is a total difference. It has pushed me to a new level.”
The impact is clear to see on the pitch. Shaw has gone from a player who would cut back and take the easy option to one who drives into spaces and whips in crosses.
He looks as fit and strong as he did when he first broke through at Southampton, which he never really has in a United shirt.
Shaw was also keen to give credit to summer signing Edinson Cavani for transforming his attitude to crosses and assists.
“I never used to cross it as much as I should have done. It helps to have Edi and that threat in the box. If you do deliver a ball he will be there to fight for it and give everything he can to win it.
“You don’t have to hit a man, you just have to hit a space and someone will be in there.”
Shaw also spoke about his ambition to win a trophy with United.
He was at the club for the FA Cup win in 2016 and the 2017 EFL Cup and Europa League wins but not fit to play.
If United do scoop the Europa League this season, Shaw will likely have played a huge part.
He won the club’s Player of the Year in 2019, the year when Solskjaer took over mid-season.
But he says he’s playing far better now than he was then, and he will give Bruno Fernandes a great battle for that award this time around.
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