Luke Shaw has returned to Manchester United training for the first time since August, providing a significant boost to Erik ten Hag’s shaky defense. Shaw arrived at Carrington on Wednesday and will be looking for playing time in United’s first game back after the international break, against Everton on Sunday.
Shaw has only played two games this season and has not appeared since a 2-0 loss to Tottenham in mid-August. With Tyrell Malacia sidelined since pre-season, Ten Hag, who described Shaw as “the best left back in the UK” in March, has been desperately short of options at left back, and United were forced into a season-long loan deal for fringe Tottenham player Sergio Reguilon in the hours before the transfer window closed.
Since Shaw’s injury, the Spaniard has been one of four players to play at left back for Ten Hag in the Premier League. Diogo Dalot and Victor Lindelof have moved from their usual defensive positions, while Fiorentina loanee Sofyan Amrabat, who is more naturally a defensive midfielder, has put in two underwhelming performances in defense.
United are still without long-term absentee Lisandro Martinez, but Shaw’s return will be critical in providing Ten Hag’s team with an outlet for their buildup play down the left flank. Last season, no one averaged more touches than the 28-year-old, and only Harry Maguire averaged more carries.
Luke Shaw | Player Stats
Shaw was among the top ten Premier League defenders in terms of progressive carries last season. He’s also an extremely effective aerial outlet, winning 60% or more of his duels.
Shaw’s return comes at an ideal time for United, who face a difficult run of games when club football resumes this weekend. Following their visit to in-form Everton, they will travel to Turkey, knowing that defeat to Galatasaray will see them eliminated from the Champions League. Following that is a five-game stretch that includes matches against Newcastle, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, and Liverpool.