Denis Irwin: Luke Shaw will be a fantastic left-back for Manchester United

by Richard Laverty

Denis Irwin has defended Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw with the 19-year-old experiencing a difficult start to life at Old Trafford.

Shaw’s injury troubles started almost as soon as he arrived at the club, a hamstring injury meant he missed the opening month of the season and didn’t make his debut until the win against West Ham in September.

After coming into some good form late in 2014, Shaw has once more been hampered by several ankle issues and has appeared in just 13 of United’s 29 league games this season.

Whilst the likes of Irwin, Arthur Albiston and Patrice Evra held down the left-back position, Shaw has struggled to do that so far but the former red is backing him to do so.

“Because of the injuries to Luke that is why it has been chopping and changing. He just needs a run of games and he isn’t getting it because of injuries,” said Irwin.

“Rojo has done well there. Daley Blind did well against Spurs. There is competition there which there should be but I am certain at the end of it Luke Shaw will be the number three.”

Blind could keep his position at left-back after a good performance on Sunday against Tottenham Hotspur and with Shaw struggling for fitness, Irwin hopes that position can be come settled in the near future.

“Nobody has played consistently at left-back this year. The club had Patrice Evra for so long before he left last summer, there was myself, Arthur Albiston before that and Tony Dunne. There has never been a problem at left-back for so long really. Traditionally it has been a strong, steady, consistent position for United.

“Luke had two great years at Southampton. I am certain that when he does get the run of games and is injury-free then he will be a fantastic left-back for United. Injuries have stopped him nailing down the place and he is in a battle but I think he will be the regular left-back.

“I like him as an attacking player. He is 19 years old and, like any 19-year-old players on a football field, you will make mistakes but as long as you learn and learn quickly he will be fine. Attacking-wise he is not afraid to go forward. Give him time and he’ll be another long termer in the role.”

At just 19, Shaw has plenty of time to overcome his injury issues and United fans will be at least pleased to see a constant improvement in his performances when he has managed a prolonged spell in the line-up this season.

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