Luke Shaw has taken criticism about his fitness levels on the chin, as the most expensive teenager in the world adapts to life at Manchester United.
Shaw, 19, was sent to train on his own this week by new United boss Louis van Gaal after the Dutchman deemed Shaw’s fitness levels to be inadequate.
[RELATED: Shaw not fit enough]
The England international, who was the youngest player to perform at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, has been deployed in a left wing back role in three friendlies for United on their U.S. tour so far, instead of his usual left back position. Under van Gaal United are likely to play a 3-5-2 formation so it’s a position Shaw should get used to playing. On Tuesday evening the former Southampton defender came on for the second half against Inter Milan after Reece James was unable to play. Shaw had already been put through a heavy training session on Tuesday in Washington D.C. after van Gaal stated he is “not fit enough to do what I want” but he played the second half.
Speaking after United’s penalty shootout win over Inter at FedExField, Shaw agreed with van Gaal’s assessment.
“It’s something I totally agree with. Playing in this formation you really have to be fit. I am fit but not at his high demands,” Shaw said. “I know I have got to get fitter to get up and down. That’s something I am going to work on, and tonight in 45 minutes I felt really good, so I am looking forward to keep on progressing until the start of the season. I didn’t come into United thinking it’s going to be much harder and that’s something I made a mistake on. I thought it was just going to be the same but United is the biggest club in the world and there are world-class players in training so it’s something that is going to push me on.”
Give the last two sentences above, Shaw obviously underestimated the physical demand facing him during preseason. Over the past two seasons in the PL he often came off in the second half of games with small injuries but his pace and power shone through from left back in every single outing.
It seems as though van Gaal is using Shaw as an example to the rest of the United squad. He will not tolerate anything less than peak fitness and he is not scared to bench you. Shaw is 19, willing to listen and learn and has just left Southampton (where he was since the age of 7) for one of the biggest clubs in the world.
This whole episode will be a learning curve for Shaw but as long as he has van Gaal as his mentor and listens to him, he will go far.
Following last week’s decision handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Peru captain and talisman Paolo Guerrero has been banned from the 2018 World Cup — at the age of 34, almost certainly his last opportunity to star on the world’s biggest stage.
[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]
However, in the days since that decision, a number of Guerrero’s fellow professionals and World Cup stars — France and Denmark captains Hugo Lloris and Simon Kjaer, and Australia’s Mile Jedinak — have written to FIFA, on behalf of FIFPro, the world player union, in hopes of rendering Guerrero eligible to pay at next month’s tournament in Russia.
“We respectfully ask the Fifa Council to show compassion,” the trio wrote. “In our view it would be plainly wrong to exclude him from what should be a pinnacle of his career.”
[ MORE: Ronaldo hints at Real Madrid exit | Bale does the same ]
That Lloris, Kjaer and Jedinak are the players lobbying in favor of Guerrero is particularly notable given the fact that Peru will face France, Denmark and Australia in Group C.
Guerrero tested positive for cocaine late last year, after a tea he drank was tainted and triggered a fail drug test.
KANSAS CITY, KAN. — The game in 100 words (or less): Nothing ruins a good game of soccer more than controversies involving the referee — and now that VAR is active within MLS, yet another failure of the video-review system to correct the most “clear and obvious” of wrong decisions. There is no longer any rhyme or reason in deciding whether or not to utilize what could be a very helpful tool. Check the third video further down this page to comprehend the absurdity of VAR in Sporting Kansas City’s 0-0 draw with Columbus Crew SC on Sunday. As for the actual soccer which was played, Tim Melia made one save to deny Gyasi Zardes with a point-blank header early in the first half, and a second to deny Zardes rom the penalty spot just before halftime. Despite being a back-and-forth affair between the league’s second- and third-place teams with a chance to take the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race, there were just six shots on target in total and genuine scoring chances were few and far between.
[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]
Three moments that mattered
43′ — Zardes wins a PK, but Melia makes the save — Melia was responsible for giving away the penalty kick, and he more than made up for it by denying Zardes moments later.
45+6′ — Higuain puts studs into Espinoza, sees red — Originally not called a foul, changed to a red card following video review. On the softer side of red cards (just an opinion).
59′ — Martinez takes a swing at Sinovic, but no video review — At this point, it’s just time to disband the entire VAR experiment. It’s turned MLS into a clown show and an embarrassment. Signed, someone who was initially in favor of VAR, assuming MLS would utilize it properly.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]
Man of the match: Tim Melia
MADRID (AP) Rayo Vallecano earned promotion to Spain’s top division after beating Lugo 1-0 in a second-tier league game on Sunday.
Alex Moreno’s goal for the hosts in the 40th minute sealed Rayo’s return to La Liga after two seasons away.
Huesca had already secured promotion last weekend with a 2-0 victory at Lugo.
The third team to move up will be the winner of a two-round playoff between the four teams that finish the season from third to sixth.
Malaga, Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruna were all relegated from the top flight this season.
KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City host Columbus Crew SC, the Eastern Conference’s second-place side, at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday with both sides capable of overtaking Atlanta United for top spot in the Supporters’ Shield race.
[ FOLLOW: SKC vs. Crew SC in top-of-the-table clash ]
Sporting KC, who are unbeaten in three straight and have lost just once since opening day (11 games), lead expansion side Los Angeles FC in the West. Meanwhile, Crew SC enter Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash unbeaten in their last six games (four wins) and trail the league leaders from Atlanta by a single point.
Hit the link above to follow along throughout the afternoon, and check back with PST for coverage after the final whistle.