One of the problems with Luke Shaw is that he has a body type that makes him look out of shape even when he isn’t. So when he is out of shape, as he has been for the majority of this season - it’s apparent to everyone watching that his frequent critics have a point. Just look at the state of him.
For a young player that is continuously tipped as having the potential to be United’s and England’s starting left-back for the next decade, a mere 19 starts in all competitions is nothing to write home about. Mourinho - like his predecessor - singled out Shaw for criticism about his application in training. After being handed the chance to audition for the full-back spot (along with a rotating set of players that were all unsuitable in one way or another), Shaw was so unimpressive that at one point he was effectively fifth choice for the position. This, despite being the only specialist left-back at the club.
The repeated public criticism from Mourinho presumably was meant as a challenge to Shaw; the manager’s way of asking the player to prove him wrong. It was same approach that Mourinho has used on Henrik Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial, among others. With Shaw though, it would at times cross over into slightly bizarre humiliations, as if Mourinho wasn’t even bothering to hide his contempt.
Shaw did manage to eventually play himself back into the team, if not quite make himself first-choice. A handful of appearances in the busy month of April were somewhat encouraging, even if he never looked in danger of replicating his scintillating form of early last season. But there was enough to remind watchers just why Shaw should be the unquestionable starter. Unfortunately, that brief run was ended by injury, and now Shaw faces a battle to even ever play for the club again.
José Mourinho approval rating: Violently kicking a water bottle in the technical area.