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Luke Shaw : United’s Reliable Left-Back

Luke Shaw, currently our most experienced Left Back, has had a good run of form lately. After getting injured during the start of the season, Shaw has come back very strongly. With a string of great performances. Today on Tactical Masterclass, we cover our 24-year-old left-back, Luke Shaw.

Club Career

Initial Years

Shaw started his journey at Hersham at the age of six in 2001. Couple of years later, he joined the Southampton academy. Playing for the academy, he grew into a great young talent. After 7 years since joining the academy, he had made himself a regular in the Southampton U-18 team at the age of 15. During the 2011-12 mid-season transfer window, Shaw was a target for many English giants. But the club refused their offers and kept Luke in their future plans.

Professional Contract

Shaw contract
Shaw signs professional contract

After making his debut for the first team in the same season, Shaw signed a professional contract with the club. Southampton managed to grab promotion to the Premier League that season.

First Team Start

With a professional contract signed, Shaw made his first start for the club in 4-1 win in August 2012. During that season, he managed to make several first team appearances and gained valuable game time under his belt. At the end of the 2012-13 season saw Luke Shaw make 28 appearances for the club in all competitions.

Shaw’s stats during his first professional season at Southampton are :

  • Tackles : 51
  • Tackles success % : 84%
  • Last man tackles : 2
  • Blocked Shots : 3
  • Interceptions : 50
  • Clearances : 89

Last season at Southampton

Shaw Southampton
Shaw playing for Southampton against Man Utd

The start of the next season saw Shaw extending his contract by 5 years. And also managed to score his first goal for the club in the senior level. During a pre-season match, Shaw scored one of the eight goals in their 8-0 win. Shaw had a great 2013-14 season and made that left-back position his own. Making 35 appearances this time around in all competitions.

His stats during the 2013-14 season are :

  • Tackles : 72
  • Tackle Success % : 85%
  • Blocked shots : 7
  • Interceptions : 37
  • Clearances : 122

Manchester United

The 2014-15 season, saw Shaw joining a great team in Manchester United. The deal was a £30 million deal for a contract for upto four years. This transfer made Shaw the most expensive teenager in world football.

Shaw signing
Shaw joins United

He was all set to make his official debut for the club when he suffered a hamstring injury which kept him out for a month. After coming back from injury and waiting for first team starts, he was the unused sub for the team several times. Later on, Shaw managed to start a match against Chelsea which United lost 1-0. But Shaw’s performances got him praise from everywhere.

Also Read : Manchester United: A name which changed fortunes

2015-2019 Seasons

The 2015-16 season was a very eventful year for Shaw. He suffered one of the worst injuries in the football field. In September 2015, during a Champions League match against PSV, Shaw was caught in an ugly tackle and suffered a double leg fracture. It was a very dangerous injury and it kept him out of the game for 6-7 months.

Shaw returned from the injury at the end of the season, and made his first competitive appearance since the leg break. United went on to win the match 2-1 against Leicester City and lift the FA Community Shield.

Shaw community shield
Shaw and Lingard pose with the FA Community Shield

Luke Shaw’s first senior goal for Manchester United came in August 2018 in the league opener in a 2-1 win over Leicester City. The season was a breakthrough season for Luke after starting it on a high. Winning the Player of the Month in the first month of the season. And later going on to win it two more times during the season. This saw Luke Shaw being awarded Manchester United Players’ Player of the Year and Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year.

His stats during his best ever season so far at Old Trafford are:

  • Goals : 1
  • Assists : 4
  • Big chances created : 7
  • Blocked shots : 8
  • Clearances : 80

Current Season

During the current season, Shaw got himself injured during the initial period of the season. And was out for over a month. This gave opportunity to young Brandon Williams to enter the fray. He came and showcased his great potential and currently is a great backup to Shaw.

Shaw match
Shaw during a match

After coming back from injury, the defender has had some great performances. And has been improving constantly since. He averages 1.5 tackles, 1 interception and 2.3 clearances per game in the 19/20 season. While going in attack, he averages 0.5 shots, 1.1 key passes and 0.9 dribbles per game.

Style Of Play

Luke Shaw is a fast and attack minded left-back. During his early days, he was compared with Welshman and Southampton product Gareth Bale. As per experts, he is very technically gifted and has good decision making and defensive skills.

Shaw is very good at holding on to the ball and stiching short passes. Even after not being very tall, he has great aerial presence and is very good at aerial duals.

Luke has a problem of loosing concentration and committing unwanted fouls. This is one part of the game, that he needs improvement.

Playing Position

Shaw is generally an ideal left-back and has been playing in that position since his youth academy age at Southampton. But this season, he has been switched between CB and LB. When United go four at the back, Shaw plays as an ideal LB. And when United have played 5 at the back, Shaw plays as one of the CBs. His performance in both these positions this season have been good.

Shaw’s Achievements

Some of Luke Shaw’s achievements at Manchester United are :

  • FA Community Shield : 2016
  • UEFA Europa League : 2016-17
Shaw award
Shaw wins Player of the Year award

Luke Shaw’s individual achievements at club level are :

  • PFA Team of the Year : 2013-14 Premier League
  • Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year : 2018-19
  • Manchester United Players’ Player of the Year : 2018-19

Shaw hasn’t been same as his youth days post his horror injury. The incident has taken down his pace and agility, but there is no doubt on his ability. Currently, undoubtedly, he is the first choice LB at Manchester United. With a young and energetic player in Williams playing as a backup to him.

Also Read : The Bests : Individual Goals

What do you think about Luke Shaw? Is the 24-year-old your first choice LB next season as well? Do let us know your thoughts.

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