Luke Shaw Succeeds in The Center of Defense, and Eric ten Hag Gets Another New Option


Bought when he was one of the most promising young stars, by then manager Louis van Gaal, Luke Shaw was always destined for the very top.

A double leg fracture and some initial hiccups later, it finally seemed like the Englishman’s time had come. But a difficult relationship with Jose Mourinho began, and at that time leaving seemed very likely.

It seemed that the young defender would leave Old Trafford without coming close to realizing his enormous potential.

But later, a high-profile return and several decent performances under the leadership of Ole Gunnar Sulscher revealed the main problem holding back the 27—year-old football player – the Show itself.

This became a recurring pattern, and it always seemed that the outfield defender had become too comfortable in his position and needed enough effort.

The turnover of the Show under ETH

In this regard, it was nice to note that the England national team player openly told Eric ten Hag that he was open to playing as a central defender and was ready to push his boundaries.

“We chose Casemiro because he played there more often, and also Luke (Shaw) himself said that he can play at center back, and that’s really good.

“They’re all passionate and want to play, they’re hungry, and I like it.” It was commendable considering it coincided with his return from the World Cup.

With World Cup winner Lisandro Martinez absent and Victor Lindelof, Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire unavailable, Shaw fulfilled his wish against Nottingham Forest along with Raphael Varane.


The manager had the opportunity to play there with Casemiro again, but he decided to trust the England star.

And he didn’t disappoint. He did not play there as part of the four defenders, but excelled as a left central defender during Sulscher’s experiments with the game of five defenders.

On Tuesday, the 27-year-old demonstrated all the abilities of a player who has been a regular in this position, and his deft pass was a special event.

He had 118 touches of the ball while completing a giant 100 passes, the most among his teammates. His long-range passing ability was fully demonstrated when he completed 5 long passes.

However, this was not the most impressive aspect, as he also finished the game with a 90% pass accuracy, provoking quite a few attacking forays with his sharp pass.

He was just as astute in defense, making a total of 11 rebounds of the ball, again leading in this indicator among his peers.

Reliably defending, he won all three attempts at aerial duels, and also made three interceptions and two ball takeaways.

Shaw’s superb effort against Forest

Ten Hag received all the praise for his newest find in the center of defense. “It looks like Luke has played there as a central defender all his life.

“He’s done a fantastic job, so it’s nice to know that we have options, and that’s also what you need for the whole team — to have players who can play in more positions.

“He was really composed, very determined and determined to play in this position. It was a really good performance.”

With his contract extended by a year and his obvious technical abilities, United and Ten Hag may simply decide to hand him a new contract on improved terms.

The Dutch boss likes his recruits to show positional flexibility, and Shaw has demonstrated this in abundance. I hope he can continue in the same spirit in the second half of the season.


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