Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has said that he deserved to be dropped from the starting XI due to his performances in the team’s first two matches of the 2022-23 Premier League campaign.
The 27-year-old started against both Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford in August, with the Red Devils losing 2-1 to the former at Old Trafford before going down 4-0 to the latter away from home.
Shaw lost his spot after being replaced against Brentford, with summer arrival Tyrell Malacia coming into the side, but the England international appears to have now regained the starting role at left-back, playing the full 90 minutes in the team’s last two league encounters with Everton and Newcastle United.
The former Southampton youngster has said that he “completely understood” why Ten Hag dropped him, with changes necessary due to the team’s early-season issues.
“I think the most important thing is the team. Whenever I get a chance, whenever I play I just do my best. The good thing with this manager [Erik ten Hag] is that if you’re not playing well then you won’t play,” Shaw told The National.
“In the past that’s not been the case but I think the good thing about this manager is that he’s keeping everyone on their toes. He makes sure that everyone is 100% every day. If you’re not at it then you won’t play. That’s a positive thing. We all know that. And for me I’ve just got to keep working harder.
“To be honest I didn’t really need him to say anything to me (when he was dropped). I knew the first two games were nowhere near good enough. I completely understood that it was my time to come out of the team.
“The results were bad, my performances were not good enough. I just had to keep training hard every day so the manager could see how hard I was working.
“I was just waiting for my opportunity and had to bide my time because the team were doing well and we were winning. You can’t moan, I just had to be there every day with the team, being involved and helping the team, whether that is starting or being on the bench.”
Shaw has also lavished praise on Lisandro Martinez, with the Argentina international impressing at the heart of the Man United defence after a difficult start.
“Unbelievable, to be honest. You can see everyone loves him. The fans love him. His left foot is unbelievable. I think it always helps when you play with a left-footer on the side because he naturally likes to come out to that side, and I think he has fitted in really well,” the left-back added.
“Of course, he can keep getting better and better, but for me so far, he has been unbelievable this season. He needs to keep that up. His aggression, his passion, we need him in that backline. He brings that every game. I am really pleased to have him in the team.”
Martinez has been a constant for Man United this season, with the 24-year-old featuring in every match for the club since his arrival, including the full 90 minutes against Newcastle on Sunday, with the two teams playing out a goalless draw.
Ten Hag’s side, who are fifth in the Premier League table, have now switched their attention to Tottenham Hotspur, with Antonio Conte‘s side preparing to visit Old Trafford on Wednesday night.