Just 34 months ago, Luke Shaw was 20 years old and arguably the highest rated young left back in the world, destined for superstardom at the very highest level.
Then, in a split second, the trajectory of Shaw’s career — and, in many ways, his life — was severely altered. His leg was broken — shattered — and he could hardly walk for six months, well after the injury occurred.
Fast-forward to the present day, and Shaw hasn’t put together anything resembling a full body of work since the injury. He had previously fallen out of favor with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, and it’s 50-50 whether or not he has a long-term — or even short-term — future at the club.
It’s not just people inside the club who have their doubts, but much of the outside world has taken any and every opportunity to take their shots at Shaw. But, after spending a month in Dubai for a personalized pre-preseason training program, Shaw says he’s in fantastic shape and sees the upcoming season as his springboard back to his best — quotes from the Guardian:
“I guess you’ve just got to take it because there is always going to be negative criticism and positive but both of them can make you stronger. I’ve been unlucky because I’ve had a few ups and downs with different managers but I would say I’ve never been out of shape. Honestly, I feel really good and I’m raring to go, and the minutes [on tour] are only going to help me become fitter.”
“People can say I’m fat but I know my own body. I always look big because I’m bigger built — I’ve got that Wayne Rooney type of body.
“I worked hard and not just for [the critics]. I’m working harder than ever and in the first game I want to look 10 times better than in that picture.”
Things are so good, for now, that Shaw and Mourinho have a much improved relationship ahead of the new season.
“I was in Dubai with my girlfriend. It was funny — I was on my phone flicking through stuff. I got the text and accidentally clicked straight away [to reveal he read it]. The manager was probably thinking, ‘Jesus Christ!’ I said to my girlfriend, ‘I’ve just opened it and I must look so weird now.’ It was fine. I left it a little bit to reply because I didn’t want to look too eager. It was a breath of fresh air when he texted me. I wasn’t expecting it. I spoke to him and it was really positive.”