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Shaw may play long game despite his perplexing treatment by Mourinho

first_imgJosé Mourinho’s handling of Luke Shaw is a head-scratcher even for seasoned watchers of the Manchester United manager.Shaw should not be immune from criticism, as no footballer is. The point is that Mourinho, as a manager trying to get the best from players for the benefit of the side, can be over the top and counterproductive with his public assessments of the 22-year-old. Share on WhatsApp Sportblog Share on Twitter José Mourinho Share on LinkedIn Read more Luke Shaw unhappy at Mourinho criticism but will not be forced out Manchester United Reuse this content Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest Topics Share on Messenger Share via Email The number of times the manager has done this also prompts the question: what, precisely, is being seen in training that causes Mourinho to keep on selecting Shaw?The manager had all week to assess the left-back, then on Saturday decided 45 minutes into the FA Cup quarter-final win against Brighton & Hove Albion that Shaw should never have been in the XI. Factor in the history of a near two years as his coach that has featured serial mistrust and Mourinho was surely not surprised at how Shaw, in his view, performed.The public criticism that followed was the latest the defender has had to wear. It moved Shaw from a confused state regarding how he is rated – after previous admonishments – to just plain unhappy.Who can blame him? Last month Mourinho said Shaw would receive a new contract “as a natural consequence” of a “big effort”. This followed a declaration in January that he was among the finest left-backs in domestic football. It all seemed to signal Shaw had responded to the nadir of last April, when Mourinho humiliated him by stating Shaw needed to “grow up” and that the manager was his “brain” in a game at Everton.Yet the high praise in January was followed by Shaw being dropped for a league win at Burnley – he has started only four matches since – and the offer of a new contract is surely in the balance after Mourinho’s weekend words.Shaw is in no hurry to leave, though. The main calculation here is that he is out of contract in 2019, so would have greater choice of destinations plus the attraction of a lucrative signing-on fee as a free agent.Against Brighton, Shaw did not seem particularly deserving of the hook. He was also hardly the prime candidate to lose his place at Turf Moor. It has become the unfortunate trope of his career under Mourinho. If there is a player to admonish, it tends to be Shaw.On Friday Mourinho opened up a new front in criticism by extending it to all of his squad, bar Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic, which he continued post-Brighton. Shaw could be forgiven for hearing this and thinking of team-mates: “Welcome to my world”, while wondering where Mourinho’s disquiet with the very people his own livelihood depends on – his players – will end.This may be a further calculation in Shaw’s determination not to be forced out. Given Mourinho’s history and current behaviour there is no guarantee he will be his manager for all of next season and so any replacement may take a near-polar opposite view of Shaw’s worth. commentlast_img read more

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