England manager Roy Hodgson has contacted Luke Shaw to reassure the Manchester United left-back that he is still in the plans of his national team.
The 19-year-old has struggled for form and fitness since completing his £27 million move to Old Trafford from Southampton last summer - and has been limited to just 15 starts in all competitions as a result.
But Hodgson and his backroom staff remain convinced that the promising Shaw has an extremely bright future ahead of him.
Hodgson reveals Shaw conversation
“We like Luke Shaw,” the England manager was quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News. “Against Costa Rica (in the World Cup) he played exceptionally well and against Scotland he played exceptionally well.
“We just hope he gets back to the right degree of fitness and gets himself in the Manchester United team.
“But we believe in Luke Shaw as we do in someone like (Kieran) Gibbs.
“I’ve spoken to Luke, but not met him recently.
“I was happy to speak to him, he knows what we think of him.”
Shaw faces Blind competition
Shaw has been out of action since United’s 2-1 defeat to Swansea City on February 21 with a hamstring injury but is in contention to feature against Manchester City this weekend.
The teenager is not expected to start the match, however, due to his lack of minutes since returning from injury combined with the impressive recent form of Daley Blind.
The Netherlands international has performed well at left-back in Shaw’s absence, which leaves United manager Louis van Gaal left facing a selection headache between now and the end of the season.
Blind might lack the same lightning-quick pace that Shaw possesses but he has barely put a foot wrong over the past few weeks, during which time United have produced their best performances of the season so far.
But in time, it’s expected that Shaw will make the left-back position his own at Manchester United.
Gary Neville hails Luke Shaw
One man convinced Shaw is on course to reach the top of his profession is current England coach - and former United captain - Gary Neville.
Back in October, Neville was quoted by the Express as stating: "This lad has got incredible potential. I worked with him during England's World Cup campaign and Manchester United fans should be excited. He can be anything he wants to be.
"But he still has to learn about what a Manchester United player is. But we should wait for as long as it takes because he's going to be a fantastic player. I've got no doubt about him at all.
"He's incredible to watch sometimes. He's aggressive, good in the air, strong, quick, a good kicker of the ball, a good passer, a good crosser, he can beat people, he can dribble - he's got it all but people must acknowledge he's still a boy.
"He is learning about what it takes to be a United player, where the standards of preparation and levels of expectation are relentless.
"But he will be worth the wait."
United fans are waiting to patiently to catch their first glimpse of the potentially world-class Luke Shaw they thought their club had signed last summer, but it seems they may need to hold tight until the start of next season before seeing the England international back to his best.
Manchester United fans: are you confident Luke Shaw will develop into a world-class left-back? Have your say in the comments below!
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