Luke Shaw has rightly been rewarded with an England recall to cap a remarkable few months for Manchester United.
Gary Neville recently described him as the “best left-back in the country”.
“It’s getting to the point now whereby in a lot of games, he looks like Manchester United’s best player,” Neville said in the Sky Sports studio after watching Shaw’s display against West Ham.
Of course, the full-back’s transformation is about so much more than a fringe player finding his feet again.
Back in 2015, a double leg fracture suffered against PSV Eindhoven threatened to wreck Shaw’s career. He was even told he had been in danger of losing his leg.
“I never knew that until six months later when the doctor told me,” he told a press conference in 2018.
“At the time, they were thinking about flying me back and if I’d have flown back, I would probably have lost my leg because of the blood clots and stuff.”
Fortunately, the England international was able to recover, but he did lose his pace for a long time and never looked confident going into tackles.
However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has finally got him back to his best and he’s registered five Premier League assists and one goal this season.
Let’s not forget, those stats are probably undermined slightly by United’s misfiring attack. Before a recent upturn in results, the Red Devils went three successive games without scoring a goal.
Yet in terms of chances, Shaw has created no fewer than 36 this calendar year. Incredibly, that’s more than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo COMBINED in Europe’s top five leagues in 2021 – that’s per WhoScored.
To be outshining arguably the most visionary wizard the game has ever seen in Messi is quite special. But throw in Ronaldo’s stats for Juventus too and they’re still not matching the United defender.
There’s a good chance Shaw could be named the club’s Player of the Year, rivalling Bruno Fernandes.
It’s easy to see why when he’s conjuring up stats like that.