Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has withdrawn from the England squad due to injury. The left-back was one of two Reds called up by Gareth Southgate for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro during this international break. And now, poor Marcus Rashford will have no mates to keep him company. It must be frustrating for Shaw, who has been in decent form and would have been hoping to make himself a mainstay of the national team picture after an up-and-down few years.
If this unspecified injury is a genuine concern, it would leave United with only Ashley Young (too old) and Diogo Dalot (too young) as fit full-backs in the squad. On the other hand, this may also be a case of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer taking a page from his mentor’s book. Sir Alex Ferguson was notorious for finding convenient niggles for key players that kept them away from their national teams for friendlies and minor qualifiers.
With United needing to continue their impressive form in the league just to be able to secure Champions League qualification for next season — never mind the small matter of Barcelona in this season’s competition — perhaps Solskjaer thought it best not to take unnecessary risks with a player who has had his share of injury troubles in the past.
That is also hopefully the case for Anthony Martial, who similarly withdrew from national team duty with France, citing a knee injury. With Romelu Lukaku already out, and Alexis Sánchez
a total flop nursing a long-term injury, the last thing United need is yet another lost body in attack. Let’s hope that the United medical team are just being precautious.