Luke Shaw overcame a dead leg to play a pivotal role in Manchester United’s derby win at City on Sunday.
Shaw, 25, was deemed a doubt to start by United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer even after the United team had been announced an hour before kick-off.
Although Solskjaer said Shaw was declared fit after United’s warm-up at The Etihad Stadium, sources have told the Manchester Evening News Shaw was ‘touch and go’ right up until kick-off but the left-back was ‘desperate to play.
Shaw received treatment in the second-half and Solskjaer told deputy left-back Alex Telles to prepare to come on, but Shaw continued and played the full duration of United’s 2-0 win, scoring their second goal and his first in the Premier League since August 2018.
Those who have worked with Shaw during his nearly six years at United believe his willingness to play through the pain barrier highlights a mentality shift, as he would have been unwilling to start whilst carrying an injury in the past. United sources have described Shaw as ‘solid’.
“Absolutely incredible,” Solskjaer said of Shaw. “He was a massive doubt until after the warm-up, he needed the warm-up to be cleared to play.
“Luke’s performance was top. He’s aggressive, hard to play one against one and when he goes forward on those runs he’s unstoppable. He’s improved so much, he’s improving all the time and we’re delighted for him.
Shaw has started 28 times for United this season and has been tipped for inclusion in the Premier League Team of the Year. Shaw’s excursions at City could earn him a breather in United’s Europa League round-of-16 first leg against AC Milan at Old Trafford on Thursday.
England coach Gareth Southgate was in attendance at The Etihad and will announce his squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland next week, with Shaw expected to be included.
Shaw has not played for England since September 2018 and was last named in a squad for the March 2019 internationals, when he withdrew through injury.