Ashley Young believes Luke Shaw can become one of the best left-backs in the world but warned his Manchester United team-mate this status will come only through hard work.
Young has become United’s first-choice left-back for José Mourinho, with Shaw enduring a torrid time under the manager. The 22-year-old was taken off at half-time of United’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Brighton at Old Trafford on Saturday, with Mourinho criticising Shaw after the quarter-final.
This was the latest occasion the manager had given Shaw a public admonishment, with Mourinho last year claiming he had to be the player’s brain during a win at Everton.
Young’s form for United has earned him a call-up for England’s upcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy and he appears set to be part of the Russia 2018 World Cup squad.
“Obviously, he [Shaw]is a player that wants to do well, I want to see him doing well,” he told Radio 5 Live. “It’s like all players, you just have to get your head down and work.”
Asked if Shaw can fight his way back into Mourinho’s plans, Young said: “Yes, of course. He is a fantastic player. I feel he can be one of the best in the world. You’ve just got to work hard. We’ve got a healthy competition in our squad and when you’ve got world-class players training day in, day out, everybody wants to be in that team. It is tough. I’ve always said, when you join a club like United it’s a tough place to play at.
“But if you play and train and give 100 per cent, then get your opportunity – I’ve always said you always get your opportunity there.”
Young is hopeful of cementing a place in the World Cup squad. “I feel like I am playing with confidence, I have done all season,” said the 32-year-old.
“I’ve been playing more than I thought I would.
“I’ve wanted to cement my place in the team and I am back in the England squad, which I am delighted to be in. There’s a World Cup at the end of it [season]. Who knows what’s going to happen? I’ve just got to be impressive to the England manager and hopefully be on that plane.”
Young’s versatility may also be an attraction for Southgate. “In modern day football you’ve got to play in different positions. I’ve played in numerous positions apart from centre-back and goalkeeper I think. I feel I have got a good footballing brain and know the positions on the pitch whenever I’m called upon.” – Guardian service