Luke Shaw to return for Manchester United’s Boxing Day fixture vs. Newcastle United

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Don’t look now, but Louis van Gaal‘s Manchester United are making a serious surge up the Premier League table — they’re up to third, just eight points off leaders Chelsea, following a slow start to the Dutchman’s Old Trafford reign — and the side is about to get a boost to its weakest unit, the defense, ahead of the season’s busiest stretch of games.

£30 million left back Luke Shaw is set to return to first-team action, possibly for Man United’s Boxing Day fixture at home against Newcastle United, according to multiple reports in England. Shaw has been missing from action since straining ankle ligaments in United’s 2-1 win at Arsenal on Nov. 22.

Shaw struggled to make an impact during early days as a £30-million signing at United, but had put together a string of quality performances and found better form prior to the injury. Ashley Young has filled in admirably at left wingback, but is not a natural fit for the position as his entire career has seen him feature as an attacking player.

United will visit Aston Villa on Saturday (Watch live on NBCSN and online via Live Extra, 9:30 am ET), host Newcastle and visit Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City as the Red Devils embark upon a four-games-in-12-days holiday stretch.