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Manchester United’s Luke Shaw trains on his own, told he’s “not fit enough”

Jul 29, 2014, 7:51 AM EDT

Shaw Getty Images

After becoming the most expensive teenager in world soccer this summer and joining Manchester United, you’d think that Luke Shaw would be on cloud nine right now.

If he was, new United boss Louis van Gaal has brought him crashing back down to earth with a bang.

[EXCLUSIVE: Shaw on United move]

After chatting with reporters ahead of United’s game with Inter Milan, which you can watch live on NBCSN and online via Live Extra on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, van Gaal said that Shaw is not fit enough “to do what I want” and that he will “train individually until he is fit.” So, the youngest player to play at the 2014 World Cup, who played in just one game in Brazil, is apparently not fit enough and he was forced to train on his own away from the rest of the squad in Washington D.C. on Monday.

According to the Guardian, here is van Gaal’s take on Shaw’s fitness in full.

“He 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 and fit enough to do what I want. He needs to train individually until he is fit.” van Gaal said. “I cannot judge that [why Shaw’s fitness has dropped], 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? That we have to see, but that I don’t know,” said Van Gaal. “I have heard good messages from Strud [Tony Strudwick, fitness coach] but we have to see.”

Shaw, 19, is apparently on board with this extra training on his own but he is hardly going to disagree with van Gaal and all this being stated by his new manager on the record has to be hurting Shaw’s pride. Van Gaal has already lambasted his teams performance against AS Roma, despite winning 3-2 last time out, and is whipping the Red Devils into shape mercifully this summer on their U.S. tour.

It seems as though the former Southampton youngster is being made an example of to let everyone know what is expected at Old Trafford under LVG’s new regime. He doesn’t accept slackers or anything less than 100 percent effort. Shaw was deployed at left wing back during United’s preseason opener against the LA Galaxy last week and had a slightly shaky outing after failing to impact the game in a role further forward than he’s used to.

The extra fitness work will likely be sculpted around playing in that new role of left wing back instead of left back, but in the past there were rumors that Shaw was unfit at Saints and that there were concerns over how he would progress as a player.

Looks like van Gaal has spotted something he doesn’t like and he’s letting everyone, including Shaw, know about it,

  1. dfstell - Jul 29, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    Honestly, this just shows the difference between van Gaal and Moyes. Moyes could never do this…..van Gaal can.

    It could be nothing to do with Shaw’s actual fitness. Maybe van Gaal just saw something that he didn’t like in Shaw’s performance or attitude and decided to poke him with a fork to see what happens. That’s what managers of humans have to do: Figure out how to get the best response from each of their direct reports.

    This could just be a shot across the bow to a young man who HAS to be excited to join a big club and is suddenly very, very wealthy: Stay grounded, do the work, you haven’t achieved anything yet….blah, blah….

  2. geejon - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Actually it seemed pretty obvious in the 2 games that Shaw was a step behind everyone else. He was practically invisible. Valencia was flying around when he got his run. Welbeck, Rooney, Mata, Herrera … all eager to run around, get on the ball, make something happen. Shaw played the first half in the 1st game and the 2nd half in the 2nd game and you practically needed a score sheet to know he was in there. Not only was he not making himself available when Manchester had the ball, but his tracking back was lacking in the 1st game as he repeatedly let guys get behind him. He wasn’t pushing up, wasn’t back, he was just …. there. Perhaps he was just unsure of himself playing wing-back or maybe it was nerves, but it was certainly something.

  3. rickapolis - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:29 PM

    The coach is putting his mark on the team. This has been his style all along, so no one should be surprised.

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