EXCLUSIVE: Luke Shaw speaks out about Manchester United move

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The most expensive teenager in the world. Check.

The youngest player to play at the 2014 World Cup. Check.

It has been quite a summer for England international Luke Shaw. Now, the 19-year-old has just begun life as a Manchester United player following his $55 million move from Southampton in June.

[RELATED: Why Shaw is worth $55 million]

Shaw is currently in Los Angeles as United prepare for the 2014-15 Premier League season with new manager Louis van Gaal at the helm for their U.S. tour. A busy man, Shaw took some time out to chat with ProSoccerTalk about how his record-breaking switch to Old Trafford played out, being the youngest player at the World Cup, his new gaffer van Gaal and much more.
This was Shaw’s first chat with the media since sealing his monster transfer to one of the biggest team in the world.

After playing 60 times for Southampton in the PL and making his England debut at the ripe age of 18, Shaw had plenty of suitors chasing his signature this summer. But when he found out United were in for him, the youngster made sure his move to the Red Devils happened.

“It’s great. When I found out they were interested in me I didn’t think twice,” Shaw said. “Manchester United are the biggest club in the world. When I found out they wanted to buy me, I spoke to my agent, he got in touch with Southampton and it got done. I am really excited and happy to be here.”

[RELATED: Shaw becomes most expensive teenager in history]

After flying out to LA with United for their tour — that kicks off on Wednesday night against the LA Galaxy before glamour games against AS Roma in Denver, Inter Milan in Washington D.C. and Real Madrid in Michigan — Shaw has only been in training for a few days. Already settling in well, the young left back revealed that the chance to work with van Gaal was a big plus in signing for United, as he was impressed with his track record of developing top class youngsters at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the past.

[RELATED: Full details of United’s U.S. tour]

source: AP
Shaw’s powerful running and impressive defensive displays saw him shine with Saints last season.

“I’ve only been here two days, we’ve had two training sessions and the manager has been working on what formation he wants to put in. It has been quite tough but I expected that when I first came back to preseason,” Shaw said. “He seems like a great manager, he is straightforward and wants to get the best out of the players. That is something that is good for me so hopefully I will improve under him. One of the important things for me was that I heard he was good at producing younger players. He likes playing younger players and he has faith in them. That was another big thing for me, that he will give youngsters a chance.”

Giving youngsters a chance is all well and good, but United are coming off the back of their worst season in PL history. A seventh place finish last term means no UEFA Champions League soccer to look forward to, plenty of players being let go and most importantly: no trophies.

That’s something Shaw is determined to put right.

Should United, the team who have won 20 English top-flight titles, be aiming for more trophies this season?

“Of course,” Shaw said. “You look at the season we had last season and everyone here wants to improve on that, to try and win trophies. That is what we are going to be aiming for. First thing for us is to have a good preseason, get everyone fit and raring to go for the season. This season, we want to come back as the Man United everyone once knew. Hopefully we can do that, push on and win some trophies.”

Just 12 months ago, Shaw was in Southampton’s first-team squad preparing for his first full season in the professional game after coming out of their famed academy. Now he’s in L.A. with Manchester United and looking forward to playing against some of the biggest teams in the world. This is “Roy of the Rovers” stuff. It really is.

source: Getty Images
Shaw, 19, was the youngest player at the 2014 World Cup.

“We are playing massive teams like Real Madrid,” Shaw said. “Last season, no disrespect to Southampton, but we would have been playing Championship and League One teams and now to come to the U.S. and play against teams like that is something I dreamed of when I was younger. I just can’t wait to get going.”

Sometimes when teenagers who are purchased for huge sums of money at such a young age, the pricetag becomes a burden and gets in the way. However the dollar signs are far from Shaw’s eyes as he brushed off the fact that he’s the most expensive teenager in soccer history. He is four times more expensive than Gareth Bale was at his age, and almost three times more expensive than the fee United paid for Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2003.

Shaw isn’t bothered about that… but he is impressed with the hype and attention United have gotten so far on their U.S. tour.

“About the transfer record, I don’t pay too much attention to that. I just focus on my football,” Shaw said. “As soon as you come to America you can see how big the fanbase is… I’ve heard it’s even crazier in Asia! In America it’s big and it means a lot to me to be a Manchester United player.”

As we mentioned, Shaw was the youngest player to play at the World Cup as he started and played the full 90 minutes in England’s 0-0 draw with Costa Rica in their final group game. Sadly, for Shaw and the Three Lions, England had already been knocked out by then. He admits the entire team was shocked by their early exit but that the experience will hold him in good stead for the future.

“It was an unbelievable experience, but such a shame that we got knocked out so early,” Shaw said. “Nobody really expected that. It came as a shock. Although I was happy to play in the last game. It was great to play in the World Cup, the biggest stage in football. That’s something I want more of and hopefully now that I am at Man United, if I keep playing well then I will get more chances like that.”

There’s no doubting that. With United’s legendary left back Patrice Evra sold to Juventus on Monday and his back up Alexander Buttner already leaving United this summer, Shaw is set to start at left back for one of the biggest teams in the world when the Premier League season kicks off on August 16th. He is not fazed, but he is still trying to get his head around the fact that he now gets to call the likes of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata his teammates. Remember, he’s only 19.

“There is a lot of quality in the dressing room. It is crazy,” Shaw said. “Two years ago I was watching them on telly and now I am going to be playing in the same team as them. It is crazy. For me to still be 19 it is something I am really looking forward to. For me to be able to train with them everyday, it will keep improving me as a player and a person. I am really looking forward to the start of the season.”

Ex-Liverpool CEO shares biting story of Suarez transfer

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Ian Ayre’s got jokes.

The former Liverpool CEO lifted the lid on some transfer stories during a Merseyside lecture this week.

Of note, Ayre admitted that the club thought Dele Alli demanded too much given what he had produced when the Reds has the chance to sign him as a 16-year-old, and said that Liverpool could’ve landed Alexis Sanchez but the player wanted to live in London (“We couldn’t move the football club to London, unfortunately,” he quipped).

The best part relayed by Sky Sports had to do with Luis Suarez, and shows the relentless nature of the transfer market. Clearly Barcelona had interest in Suarez before the fiery striker bit Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, because, well…

“I remember the sporting director of Barcelona calling me during that game, immediately as Suarez bit the player, and he said to me ‘my friend, he’s bitten somebody, how can this be the price?’ I said ‘he’d already bitten somebody when you first bid!'”

We’re sure there’s a certain amount of storytelling in there, but undoubtedly some truth.

Given Barca paid a reported $84 million for the striker, the asking price couldn’t have started that much higher.

De Rossi admits desire to beat young teammates with bat

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Daniele De Rossi doesn’t like the modern world.

Okay, okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the Roma legend dropped a funny quote when discussing the differences between young players these days and those when he began his career.

A one-club man, the 33-year-old De Rossi has played in 556 matches for i Lupi and admits that he probably flummoxed veterans when he began his career because that’s the cyclical nature of adulthood.

From Italia Football:

“When we started out, it was all different, that was 20 years ago. Now a 20-year-old will get into the first team and have more Instagram followers than Messi. When I was young, the older players would say ‘it wasn’t like in my day’ – that’s life and it always will be.

“Mind you, some of them irritate me too. When I see them do live Instagram videos from inside the locker room before a game, I’d like to take a baseball bat to their teeth… But they’re 18 years old and in 20 years’ time they will find themselves complaining about the youth of today.”

Mmmm, tastes like ash and hickory.

It’s a safe bet that De Rossi isn’t wild about Stephan El Shaarawy’s hair, we imagine, but living legends generally get a little leeway with their comments in the media.

Plus, it sounds like he has the wisdom to understand the “why” and at least channel his angry into tackles.

Rooney ready to use experience to “get Man Utd over the line”

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An injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic has opened the door for one of England’s all-time greatest scorers, and Wayne Rooney is ready to seize it.

Manchester United and England’s living legend could play a key role in United’s run-in toward a Europa League title and a Top Four place in the Premier League.

Rooney has six goals and 10 assists in 32 matches this season, and his 1,937 minutes under Jose Mourinho are a product of both injury and the manager’s preferences.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

But Mourinho has claimed there’s a place for Rooney all year, and now the opportunity is here just in time for the Manchester Derby.

Rooney is buzzing, from Sky Sports:

“I feel I can contribute quality, composure, experience, and know-how, how to get over the line, whether it’s to win the league or finish top four or get to the final. That’s a lot of experience I can contribute to the team.”

Five Premier League titles and a Champions League medal certainly count for a lot, and the 31-year-old striker is still a productive PL player. The question, assuming Mourinho calls his number, is whether Rooney can roll back the years to be an out-and-out finisher for at least a few more weeks.

The inactivity could be a blessing for Rooney, he says:

“Everyone mentions that age, I’m 31, not an old person. Of course, I’ve played a lot of games. … Who knows, not playing so many games this season might benefit me.”

Totti out to ‘destroy’ Lazio in what could be his last derby

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MILAN (AP) Roma great Francesco Totti is out to “destroy” Lazio in what could be his last derby.

Totti’s contract runs out at the end of the season and the 40-year-old forward is likely to retire and move upstairs into a director’s role at the club where he has spent his entire career.

“It’s a different match to all the others,” Totti said. “It’s a team you always try to destroy on the field but with the maximum respect.

“For the city, for the curva, for the fans, you always try to give 101 percent. It’s a match you always want to win.”

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

Roma won the last derby 3-2 last month but still lost to Lazio in the two-legged Italian Cup semifinals. Totti played less than 10 minutes in each match.

That semifinal defeat still hurts Roma and its fans, which are likely to fill the Stadio Olimpico again after ending a 14-month protest following the removal of deeply unpopular security barriers.

“It will be like all the other derbies, a must-win match,” Totti said. “It’s important because we all remember how the last one finished. We have to get our revenge.”

Sunday’s match is also crucial for the battle for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the group stage of the Champions League.

Roma is currently second, four points ahead of Napoli, which visits Inter Milan on Sunday. The team which finishes third has to go into a playoff for Europe’s premier club competition.

Roma has a more difficult run-in than Napoli. After the derby, it next faces AC Milan and Juventus before ending its season against Chievo Verona and Genoa. Napoli plays Cagliari, Torino, Fiorentina and Sampdoria.

[ MORE: Henry, Aguero on playing for Pep ]

“It will be a very important derby for the standings and we will try everything to have a great game to bring home the three points,” Totti said. “We are going through this battle for second serenely and calmly, also because now we have a four-point advantage on them.

“There are only a few matches left until the end of the season, even if three out of five are very difficult on paper. We will try everything to finish second.”

Lazio is fourth, seven points behind Napoli.

Totti has been playing for Roma for 25 years – remarkably more than 28 percent of the club’s existence – since making his debut in the final stages of a 2-0 win at Brescia on March 28, 1993.

Totti, who also won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, could have won more than the solitary Serie A title, two Italian Cups and two national Super Cups he claimed with Roma, but he rejected offers of more money and glory to remain with his childhood club.

His face adorns murals and posters across Italy’s capital, where he is loved by Roma fans and respected by supporters of Lazio, despite his antics against them.

Totti has scored 11 times against Lazio and often celebrates these extra-special goals with T-shirts made for the occasion. One famously said, “I have purged you again,” while he revealed another reading simply “Game Over” after a victory in May 2015.

He hit the headlines in January of that year when he scored the second of two goals against Lazio and, in a pre-planned celebration for becoming the all-time leading scorer in the derby, grabbed his phone off Roma’s goalkeeping coach and took a selfie under the Curva Sud with thousands of adoring fans in the background.

In the Eternal City, Totti is Roma’s eternal leader – first made captain in 1998 when he was only 22.

Nike alluded to his “King of Rome” nickname at a promotional event on Wednesday to unveil new gold-colored boots to mark the Roma captain’s 25 years at the club.

Totti, who was greeted by about 200 chanting fans, was instructed to sit on a throne with the steps leading up to it bearing the names of the seven kings of ancient Rome, with his name placed on the final step.

“I have nothing to do with these kings,” Totti said. “I prefer to be judged than to judge.”