Manchester United star Luke Shaw has admitted that he needs to improve his fitness if he is feature regularly under Louis van Gaal, after the Dutchman highlighted fears that his stamina isn’t up to scratch.
According to TalkSPORT the left-back is aware that he needs to step up his efforts if he is to fit into Van Gaal’s new system, having only made the cut for the Red Devils’ pre-season friendly against Inter Milan because youngster Reece James was absent with an injury. The England international has now responded to the comments made by Van Gaal, but moved to refute claims that there was a problem.
“Obviously I have seen that, and it's something I totally agree with," he said.
"To play in this formation you have to be really fit. I am fit but I am not at the high level he demands.
"I have got to get fitter to get up and down (the wing). It's something I have got to work on."
Shaw’s comments come after it was revealed that Van Gaal is planning to deploy the 3-4-3 formation that he used with Holland at United next term. The system utilises two wing-backs who split their duties between the attack and the defence, with both required to have the fitness to continually bomb up each side of the pitch.
It’s thought though that the 19-year-old Shaw, whose fitness was also called into question during his time at Southampton, is not currently capable of effectively fulfilling such a role, and has been told to work on improving his stamina by training alone. The full-back may have been United’s flagship signing so far this summer, but that fact matters little to Van Gaal, who has never been susceptible to player power.
Changes to be made
The new United boss is famous for getting his own way when it comes to the football clubs he’s managing, and fans can expect plenty more with regards to him issuing controversial, and often provocative, statements. What’s more, changes will duly be made until the 62-year-old is satisfied with how things are being done, with requests having already been submitted concerning alterations to be made to the Carrington training ground.
For Van Gaal is very much a manager who has a pragmatic way of doing things, and his record of success hints that United will enjoy a return to the summit of English football if they listen to him.
Last seasons’ woes were brought around by a mixture of Sir Alex Ferguson - who had long been the glue holding the side together - leaving and a relatively inexperienced manager in David Moyes being placed in charge. Van Gaal however has been and done it all, and with his totalitarian methods of steering the ship he is exactly what United need to get back on track.