Luke Shaw became the world’s most expensive teenager in the summer of 2014 when Manchester United, then managed by Louis van Gaal, forked out £27m to sign the highly-rated English starlet.
Shaw initially settled well in the north-west, immediately challenging for the vacant left-back spot following the departure of Patrice Evra, and during his first season at United, despite some recurring injury niggles, the former Southampton youngster went a reasonable way in justifying his hefty price-tag.
The following season looked even brighter as Shaw established himself as first-choice, starting every league match until mid-September where during a Champions League clash with PSV, he suffered a double leg fracture and would be sidelined for six months.
Things since then haven’t been nearly as rosy for the youngster. Shaw’s return to fitness coincided with the arrival of Jose Mourinho at Man United and it seems as though the Portuguese isn’t entirely convinced by the Englishman.
Mourinho has voiced concerns over Shaw’s physical health and hasn’t been afraid to criticise his attitude and work ethic over the past 18 months either. This apparent lack of trust in the youngster has been demonstrated by the former Chelsea boss picking the likes of Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian and most recently Ashley Young ahead of him.
Former Man United captain Rio Ferdinand, however, has limited sympathy for Shaw, insisting that given his ability, he should be the club’s undisputed first-choice left back.
“I think Mourinho was just prodding him at the beginning to see what reaction he would get,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“He wanted a positive reaction and he didn’t get that and I think then comes frustration from a manager’s perspective.
“Therein lies the problem, he’s looking for Shaw to give him that problem with Ashley Young playing so well.
“Who wants to take on the mantle as the best left-back at the club? Because Shaw shouldn’t be under any competition at the football club.”
Shaw has only featured 22 times in all competitions for United since Mourinho was appointed back in 2016 and time is running out for him to change the manager’s opinion, particularly with talk of a move to Tottenham on the cards, possibly in a deal that could see Danny Rose come the other way.
However, a man of the match performance in United’s 2-1 win over CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night offers some hope that the future of Luke Shaw may yet still lie in the Theatre of Dreams.