Mourinho reveals reason for Shaw’s absence; Zlatan on his future
Luke Shaw’s career at Manchester United has stalled this season.
[ MORE: Conte v Mourinho brewing ]
Shaw, 21, joined the Red Devils as a teenager in the summer of 2014 from Southampton and at that time the left back became the most-expensive teenager in the world after moving for over $37 million.
However, after impressing at Old Trafford his fitness was called into question by Louis van Gaal and then he suffered a horrendous leg break in the UEFA Champions League at PSV Eindhoven which cost him the entire 2015-16 campaign.
Since Mourinho arrived at United, Shaw has not been first choice at left back with Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian and others used in that position.
Mourinho also revealed that Darmian has been on the bench ahead of Shaw recently as he only wants one defender among his substitutes and with Darmian able to play in both full back slots, he is included ahead of Shaw. With Mourinho’s comments about Shaw’s fitness in November following a win at Swansea City, plus appearing to criticize his display in the 3-1 defeat at Watford in September, the England international has been on the outside looking in.
Yet, with a congested fixture schedule coming up -- United play against St. Etienne in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 first leg on Thursday, Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup on Sunday, then the return leg at St. Etienne on Feb. 22 and the EFL Cup final against Southampton at Wembley on Feb. 26 -- Shaw could get plenty of minutes under his belt.
He needs them to regain his form, match fitness and kick on his extremely promising career as the best marauding left back in Europe 21 and under. He has the talent. He just has to stay fit and impress Mourinho. That’s the tough part.
Staying with United, the future of their top scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, appears to still be up in the air.
Ibrahimovic, 35, has scored 20 goals in 34 games in all competitions for United this season, but his contract expires at the end of this season.
The Swedish striker has revealed he has met the terms of triggering a new one-year deal to his current contract and Mourinho has confirmed multiple times that United plan to keep the veteran forward at Old Trafford for another season.
Speaking to the media, Zlatan joked when asked if he’d met the extension clause in terms of goals and appearances.
So, Ibrahimovic seems a little coy but he certainly seems to have enough in the tank for another season at United. He’s already proved all of his critics wrong who said he couldn’t cut it in the PL after spending his entire career away from England’s top-flight before this season.
But after proving his quality, should he walk at the end of this season after winning a trophy or three (Europa League, EFL Cup and FA Cup still up for grabs) plus finishing in the top four, or better, of the Premier League?