LONDON (Reuters) – England left back Luke Shaw believes his Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was right to criticise him and said on Tuesday the Portuguese had been key to his international recall.
The 23-year-old was last week named in the England squad for the first time in 18 months for the Nations League match against Spain on Saturday and the friendly with Switzerland on Tuesday.
His return to the international fold follows a strong start to the season in which he has played every minute of United’s opening four games after he struggled to get into the team last term, with Mourinho critical of Shaw’s attitude.
Asked about how he was treated by the United manager, Shaw said: “I think he got frustrated with me because he knew I could do better. When I look back, maybe he was right.
“It was a tough few years but it made me stronger mentally. I wanted to prove to him I could do what he said I couldn’t. I had a chat with the manager before the season and he said he wanted me to stay,” Shaw told a news conference on Tuesday.
“I’ve matured. You could say I’ve gone from a kid to a man. I know what I need to do to push myself. I want to play for Manchester United, stay there and prove my worth to the team.”
Shaw was one of the most expensive teenagers in world football when he moved to Old Trafford from Southampton for 27 million pounds ($34.70 million) in June 2014 aged 18, having made his England debut four months previously.
He was a regular in former United manager Louis van Gaal’s team until he broke his leg in two places against PSV Eindhoven in September 2015, missed two months of the 2016-17 season with a groin problem and then twice had operations on his foot.
His journey to recovery was tough to handle mentally.
“I’ve seen a psychologist. My leg break was a very tough time,” he said ahead of England’s first matches since they reached the World Cup semi-finals without him in the squad.
Shaw has seven caps but his last appearance was in March 2017 as a substitute in a 1-0 friendly loss to Germany.
He said he was “gutted” to miss out on the World Cup and watching from the outside inspired him to have extra training in Dubai during the close season to get fit for the new campaign.
“All the stick I’ve had in the last few years has pushed me. I wanted to prove everyone wrong and get back to what I do best. I need games to get fully fit and motivated. I’m feeling back to my old self,” he said
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Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Toby Davis