Manchester United fans were thrilled when it was announced back in June 2014 that their club had won the race for Luke Shaw’s signature.
The 18-year-old was magnificent during his two full seasons in the Premier League with Southampton and had the world at his feet.
Many football fans and pundits were even comparing him to Gareth Bale at one point - and not just because he came through the academy at St Mary’s.
Shaw, like Bale, was powerful, could run all day and was blessed with a left foot capable of producing magical moments.
However, over three years later and the England international appears to be in serious danger of being axed by United following a trio of frustrating, stop-start seasons.
Injuries have certainly hindered his development - the horrific double-leg fracture he suffered against PSV in September 2015 saw him miss an entire year of his early career - but his attitude has also been called into question on multiple occasions.
Shaw was warned last season
When Jose Mourinho said Shaw was a “long way behind” the club’s other left-backs in terms of commitment, focus and ambition, Gary Neville warned the young full-back that he needed to respond to those comments with performances on the training ground and in matches.
“He has to respond,” Neville said, per the Guardian, towards the end of last season. “If he doesn’t, it will be a reflection upon him as a character and a personality moving forward. I think if people think words can get to you … words shouldn’t hurt you. Words are words. They come and go. Those words will be here for another couple of days and then they’ll be gone.
“The reality of it is Luke Shaw will be given a chance to play in a few weeks’ time and it’s his performance on the pitch that will count. He has the talent to play for Manchester United.”
Shaw’s only appearance for the first team this season was against Burton Albion in the League Cup last month.
But he was handed a chance to impress against West Ham’s Under-23 side at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Reaction to Shaw's performance v West Ham U23s
Sadly, according to United fans who watched the match, the 22-year-old’s performance was hugely underwhelming as the Red Devils’ Under-23 side suffered a 4-2 defeat.
“Doesn't seem to have registered with Shaw that he's playing for his future,” one fan tweeted, summing up where Shaw's career is at right now. “No urgency or desire & looks like he's playing in a testimonial.”
Others who watched the game felt the same - with several noting that Shaw looked overweight.
Barring a dramatic turnaround in attitude, it’s hard to imagine a situation where Shaw is still a Manchester United player this time next year.
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