What does Luke Shaw's successful return mean for United's left-back spot?
Luke Shaw proved a point with his performance for Manchester United against City at the weekend.
He had been written off during his latest spell out with injury, with youngster Brandon Williams showing he has the ability to become first choice.
Shaw’s derby selection showed when push comes to shove, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still favours his experience.
Ashley Young started in midweek against Tottenham, further complicating matters. United now have a three way battle for the left-back spot.
So what does the future hold? In the short-term, over the next two months, expect plenty of rotation.
Up for grabs
Shaw and Williams are both competing to be United’s long-term left-back, while Young will feel he still has a case right now, after his performance against Tottenham.
United are now entering the busiest fixture schedule of the season, with Europa League, Carabao Cup, Premier League and FA Cup matches to be played over the next two months.
United have six more matches to play in December, including two in the space of three days between the 26th and 28th.
January is also very busy, if United get through the Carabao Cup past Colchester and into a two-legged semi-final.
Even without those two matches, United have five games scheduled for January, which could extend to seven, or even eight if the FA Cup tie with Wolves goes to a replay.
All three left-backs will be needed over this busy period. Shaw’s shaky fitness record means United must manage him sensibly, and Williams’ and Young’s availability means it is easy to do so.
Rotation will likely continue at the left-back position throughout December and January. This will give all three players ample opportunity to state their case.
It also gives Shaw the chance to prove his fitness, and show that he can hold up to regular football again after missing so much of the first half of the season. But it could also go backwards, he may suffer another injury and miss more time.
Solskjaer will only really be pushed into making a decision over who his first choice is when United play the Europa League last 32 knockout tie in February.
Until then, enjoy the battle. The competition should drive up standards, it’s good to have options.
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