Luke Shaw has held his hands up and admitted what we all already knew about his debut season at Manchester United in 2014-15 — that the defender signed from Southampton for a fee of $45 million was far from fit when he arrived at the club, and that his performances (and ultimately a lack thereof) struggled as a consequence.
[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup ]
Speaking to the media on Man United’s preseason tour ahead of his sophomore campaign with the club, Shaw also admits that his lack of fitness caused a certain level of discord between himself and
known totalitarian United manager Louis van Gaal.
Shaw, on last season’s struggles, from the Mirror:
Recalling last summer, when he arrived at United, Shaw said: “I only had myself to blame. I didn’t arrive at the club in the correct shape and things didn’t go to plan. The manager told me his feelings and I totally accepted that. At a massive club like United you have to be at your best.
“But I learned and this season I feel much fitter, much sharper and I have the experience of a year at Manchester United behind me. The big difference is my fitness. I got a good 45 minutes [against Club America in Seattle] and hopefully I can keep pushing on.”
It would be difficult for Shaw’s second season at Old Trafford to be any worse than his first, in which the 20-year-old made just 16 Premier League appearances and missed a significant chunk of the season due to a combination of injuries and the aforementioned lack of fitness.
In the event Shaw experiences further struggles in getting his United career of the ground this season, the club’s signing of 25-year-old Matteo Darmian this summer — a player equally capable of playing either left or right back — gives Van Gaal the kind of experienced option he didn’t have during his own debut season at Old Trafford.
As a 17- and 18-year-old, Shaw made a combined 60 Premier League appearances for Southampton during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons before making his big-money move to United last summer.