Luke Shaw has been backed by Arthur Albiston to be a fantastic footballer in the future and he compared certain aspects of his game to Gary Neville.
The 18-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to United this week and reports suggest his future will be resolved before the World Cup starts.
Albiston knows a thing or two about being a left-back at Old Trafford as he is 10th on Manchester United’s all-time appearances list having put the shirt on 485 times over a career that spanned 14 senior years, so he is certainly well placed to pass judgement on Patrice Evra’s potential replacement.
“I saw Luke a couple of times when Southampton’s academy side played United and he looked the part even then as a 16-year-old,” Albiston told the Manchester Evening News.
“You could tell he was a talent and had a great future. He has matured and he has the height, the physique, the temperament, everything. He is very confident. Nothing seems to faze him and he is very positive in everything he does.
“It is very hard for young lads to make the breakthrough into the Premier League but he has become a regular at St Mary’s this season and looks like he has been in this division for 10 years.
“He reminds me of Stuart Pearce. We all know that Pearce was tough. He could give it out and take it. Shaw is exactly the same. He is happy to take one or two bumps but it doesn’t rattle him and force him into his shell, he just gives it back.
“He is tidy as well. He’s a defender but he likes to get forward. But he is not one of these full-backs who is a frustrated winger. He’ll go forward but if he cannot go anywhere he will give it to someone else, run back and make sure that the team is covered. That tidiness and sensible play also reminds me a bit of Gary Neville.”
Albiston’s point about Shaw not being a frustrated winger is a valid one. There is a modern trend for full-backs to be converted wingers but Shaw is a natural left-back which means his positional discipline should, in theory, come much easier to him.
This article from the MEN is slightly premature given that he has not joined United but there’s certainly a growing sense of optimism around his signing, despite the fact he is a Chelsea fan.
On paper, Shaw’s purchase would make sense for United at every level – he’d be the perfect replacement for Evra and he fits our traditions of buying the best youngsters to mould them into world class players. It’s United’s bread and butter.