Luke Shaw returned to the fray after five months: How did he get on?
Since his £30 million move from Southampton in 2014, it’s fair to say Luke Shaw’s Manchester United career has been a mixed bag.
It would take the most stubborn of devil’s advocates to claim the 21-year-old has justified his big-money fee just yet, but after another long time spent out of United’s Premier League squad he was back in action on Saturday.
It was the first time he’s played for United in the league since October 29 and the youngster returned along with other United absentees Wayne Rooney, Phil Jones and Michael Carrick. But it was the young left back who really had people talking.
So, how did he get on?
Well, he got off to a bright start. There had been fears Shaw has been carrying the mental scars of the broken leg he suffered at the start of last season, yet a series of robust challenges here dispelled that theory.
The most crunching of them was delivered on Adam Smith in the build-up to United’s opener, which left Shaw limping and the Bournemouth player requiring treatment.
Going forward the youngster offered good support for French winger Anthony Martial on the left side, but not often bursting forward for the overlap.
Despite few runs forward at Bournemouth’s defence however, he did make a couple of very impressive passes upfield.
Shaw had been out of United’s first-team picture for so long he may have questioned if he had any future at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho.
An interview earlier this year from the United manager will have given him encouragement however, where the Portuguese said in a few years the Englishman could be “the best of all” his left-sided defenders.
Shaw rewarded the testament from his manager with a great first half all in all – which will encourage Mourinho in return.
In the end however it wasn’t destined to be much more than a promising first half for the left back. He made way along with his fellow long-term absentees on 70 minutes as United searched for a winning goal.
Shaw has completed 90 minutes only once in the previous three months and made just four appearances in all competitions since October. After Mourinho’s assurance Shaw is part of his plans, and with United still in the FA Cup and Europa League and fighting for a top-four spot, Shaw may have been withdrawn before the end to stay fresh for the future fixtures to come.
Perhaps Shaw’s biggest impact on the match was a first half challenge he received from Andrew Surman which gave the Bournemouth man the first of his two yellow cards.
The ensuing one-player advantage looked like it might gift United the points but unfortunately for the Red Devils – despite an opportunity to win the game through a Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty – the points were shared as the score finished one apiece.
Cheer up Jose – at least Shaw is back?