Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United have been on a good winning run of late but still there are issues that need to be ironed out, namely the left-back issue.
After Luke Shaw recovered from his horrific injury last season, many expected him to kick on and be the incredible first team left-back that everyone knows he could be this season. When the Englishman was brought to Manchester United, the hope was he’d be the perfect replacement to club legend, Patrice Evra.
Now of course, Shaw has a long way to go before matching the Frenchman’s impact at the club but the potential was there for all to see. He was supposed to be United’s left-back for the next decade with ease since there were no direct competitors to him.
Yet here we are, in the month of January and the fans have hardly seen much of the youngster. Instead the left-back position has been playing merry-go-round with the players capable of filling it and no one claiming it as their own.
Darmian has featured there most which is unusual considering he couldn’t even win back his own position in right-back due to Antonio Valencia’s stunning form this season. Blind and Rojo have also occasionally featured there without excelling but rather just average performances.
For all of Blind’s amazing qualities, his shortcomings were brutally exposed in the game against Middlesbrough. Let’s not forget the Dutchman is hardly a typical Mourinho full-back either.
His lack of pace and strength was targeted (not for the first time this season) by opposition teams and it’s starting to become a serious concern. Rojo also looks a million miles better in the centre-back position than he does on the left and should only ever feature there in emergencies.
So this begs the question- just what is the solution? It appears Mourinho has already decided and made his judgement call on Luke Shaw. The Manchester United boss has asked the youngster to toughen up mentally and to be willing to fight for his place in the squad.
It seems as though Mourinho is temporarily letting players fill in until Shaw comes around and is deemed fit enough, both physically and mentally, before allowing the youngster to get a run of games in the side.
We must not forget that it’s tough to recover from such an injury that he endured and he’s already faced a setback this season too. Hopefully, Shaw can recover and prove himself to Mourinho on the training ground so that he can finally be where we all want him to be- on the pitch.
The team desperately needs him to fill that position up and to become what everyone knows he can be. If so, United and Mourinho will have a quality player on their hands for many years to come.