Marcus Rashford said that Luke Shaw was not enjoying playing at center-back as much as he was letting on. But the England international produced another faultless performance in the heart of the defense against Wolves at Molineux on Saturday.
The defender, for the second game running, was paired with Raphael Varane at center-back and helped United register a third successive clean sheet in all competitions.
It would have been easy for Shaw to shirk away from the challenge and become flustered when faced with Costa’s physicality, but the former Chelsea striker only lasted a half before being hooked at the break.
Even Shaw’s most ardent admirers would never have believed that the youngster had only played in a back-four twice before, such was the ease with which he dealt with Spain’s probing midfielder.
Shaw, who cemented himself as a favorite at left-back for England during the World Cup, got some much-needed competition for the spot during the summer with the addition of Tyrell Malacia.
The Dutchman had a great debut match against Liverpool in August and quickly became a fan favorite at left-back.
However, he struggled in the first half of Manchester City’s derby match in October, and Shaw was re-instated as the first choice.
Since then, the former Saints player has started the last nine consecutive league games at either center back or left back.
He is a reliable performer who typically delivers a solid seven or eight out of ten showing every time he steps onto the pitch.
But while it is clear that he is best suited to left-back, his recent performances in the center of defense have given Ten Hag an alternative option to work with going forward.
His attitude and commitment to this position, despite his inexperience there, have been nothing short of first-class.
This was highlighted during an interview on the Molineux pitch following Saturday’s win when he spoke with reporter Des Kelly.
Delighted with his new role in central defense, Shaw said, “I am really enjoying it.” He added, “I’ll play wherever you want me to,” and noted that having Varane by his side certainly helps.
The two players enjoyed their conversations both during and after the game.
It appears from Varane’s comments that Shaw is still interested in furthering his education, as he has gone out of his way to acknowledge the defender’s guidance and support.
Since Varane will not turn 28 until July, he still has time on his side and has not yet reached the pinnacle of his career.
He has been strong and dependable so far this season, barely putting a foot wrong for both Manchester United and England.
He is such a player that rarely gets the credit he deserves—the way he goes about his job in an unassuming manner makes him seem invisible sometimes.
In his post-game interview, he mentioned that he is a reliable player who has a complete understanding of the core principles and responsibilities that come with representing United.
He is now considered a senior member of the team, and very few other players have been with the club for as long as he has.
Shaw has grown as a player and as a character during his time at United, with his recent performances ranking among his best.
He never shies away from a challenge, and he is always ready to roll up his sleeves and work hard in pursuit of achievement.
Shaw is the sort of player Ten Hag would like to build his new-look United team around. He is someone who is always reliable and committed and gets on with his job without causing any problems for others.