When he signed for Manchester United in a £27 million deal, Luke Shaw was billed as a star who could occupy the left-back position at Old Trafford for a decade or more. Maybe he still will.
However, a great obstacle stands in the way of the youngster following the recent signing of Argentina international Marcos Rojo, who can play in defensive midfield and as a left-sided centre-back but primarily operates at left-back.
Manager Louis Van Gaal said back in July that: “Luke needs to be fit and he’s not very fit” and perhaps that is an indication of the Dutchman’s intentions with regards to choosing his starting players.
To compound Shaw’s problems, it emerged last Wednesday that he would be out with an injury for four weeks, giving any potential competitors the chance to bed-in to the starting XI in his absence.
There are also several other players whom Shaw will have to compete with if he wants to succeed at United in the short-term.
First of all, much has been said of Ashley Young’s transformation from a player who was never far away from a poor performance - or the United exit door - to someone who has prospered in the left wing-back role in pre-season games.
Van Gaal has given him a chance to prove his many doubters wrong and he has taken the opportunity with both hands.
Consequently, the 29-year-old may be one of Shaw’s biggest rivals in the season to come.
Also of concern is Van Gaal’s preference to blood young talent from the youth ranks of the club he happens to be in charge of.
It has been no different so far at Old Trafford, with Tyler Blackett and Reece James both featuring regularly in pre-season and in United's opening 2-1 defeat to Swansea last weekend.
James was interchanged regularly with Shaw and Young in the wing-back role during the club’s tour of the US, and with Rojo now in the frame, there is plenty of competition in Shaw's absence.
Whilst there is not yet any indication that Shaw is set for a torrid time at Old Trafford; after the signing of Rojo it is clear that it certainly won’t be an easy path to the starting XI.
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