10th April 2017

Manchester United’s Luke Shaw is a fantastic player who plays the style of Football I enjoy watching. He gets forward, he has pace and is creative.

To play that style of Football demands a high level of Footballing intelligence to know when to venture forward and when to stay back and a high level of fitness to be able to cover that much ground across the 90 minutes.

On multiple occasions the Manchester United Manager Jose Mourinho has publicly criticised Shaw’s attitude, fitness, weight and application. Shaw has remained quiet, but he must be slightly embarrassed by the ongoing digs in the media the Manager enjoys making.

Mourinho has form in making public critiques of his players. He did it to Juan Mata at Chelsea, but in my view Shaw has had it much worse. Mourinho clearly likes the hard Manager approach, similar to that of Brian Clough. But Mourinho is not Clough and that approach was out of date even in the 1990’s.

It must be difficult to know how to motivate a player who already has more money most of us can imagine at the very tender age of 21. Shaw’s success must breed a calmness that contradicts the high intensity he would need to push himself to the limit and fulfill his potential.

Managers should know the players who need to be told they are great with an arm around their shoulder and those players who react better when they are challenged and criticised. I will not, however, ever agree that it is in the public domain where these criticisms should be made.

Reports today that Manchester United plan to sell Luke Shaw this summer suggests to me their approach to dealing with the player has been wrong. Shaw would be well within his rights to say “That’s enough!” and move on to a club where his undoubted ability will be more appreciated.

Mourinho’s criticisms of Shaw will also effect his transfer value. How can they possibly hope to recoup most of a £27 million fee if Mourinho is quoted in the news as stating Shaw’s performance was only good because of his play-by-play guidance? It’s self-defeating.

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