Jose Mourinho has received some criticism over his treatment of Luke Shaw during his time as Manchester United manager. The young left-back has only had a few great weeks since signing for the club almost four years ago, in the lead up to his awful injury against PSV at the beginning of the 2015-16 season.
Having struggled to perform well and hold down a place in the starting line-up for Mourinho during his first season in charge, the manager was asked what the problem with Shaw was.
“The way he trains, the way he commits, the focus, the ambition, I cannot compare (to Young, Darmian and Blind),” he said in April 2017. “He’s a long way behind.”
Mourinho singled Shaw out several times before and since which has accused for some to claim the manager is bullying the player.
But is the problem with Mourinho or Shaw?
Louis van Gaal
Shaw is ok, but I am always a trainer-coach who sees individuals and what they need. He needs to be fit and is not very fit or fit enough to do what I want. He needs to train individually until he is fit. I cannot judge how long that will take, but I see what I see. I have spoken with him and we have made a programme for him. He agreed with me. How long (will he be on the programme)? That we have to see, but that I don’t know.
Shaw played under Hodgson for England and was less than impressed with his work ethic.
[Shaw] might have had it mentioned to him a couple of times during the World Cup by people like myself and [physio] Gary Lewin. If Louis thinks that he can get him fitter then I’m sure he will certainly have our approval.
It doesn’t bode well for Shaw that, even as an 18-year-old playing for his country in a World Cup, his coaches had to speak to him about his fitness. If he couldn’t work hard on his fitness then, when would he?
Even more damaging is an interview that Shaw gave when he reflected on when he first signed for United after the World Cup. Here he was, a teenager, the most expensive in the world, admitting that instead of doing all he could to be in peak condition for his new club, “I took it a little bit easy over my time off after the World Cup. Maybe I didn’t think it was going to be as hard and as quick as it was.”
Hodgson revealed that Mauricio Pochettino had similar problems with Shaw when he was his manager at Southampton.
I think you need to speak to Mauricio Pochettino, who spent a lot of time with Luke, as they [Southampton] brought him in as a 16 or 17-year-old and threw him into the team. I know Pochettino worked hard with him on the fitness and conditioning side of the game.
I think a lot of Luke’s situation is purely down to the fact that he is still young, his body is changing. But I think he’s aware that the work-rate which is required does mean that he’s got to work very, very hard on that aspect of his game.
I think when he [Van Gaal] talks to Pochettino, then Pochettino will say to him: ‘What you were saying to Luke Shaw and what you’ve been saying to him, is what I was actually saying to him.’