The much-maligned Shaw turned his United career around in 2018/19 and picked up the Players’ Player of the Year and Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year awards for his troubles. It all started with Shaw scoring the winner (his first senior goal) against Leicester City on opening day and he managed to keep up solid, if not spectacular, performances for the rest of the way. In a year like this, that’s enough to bring home the hardware.
Shaw was fine this season, but hardly world-class. Still, when everyone else falls flat on their faces, someone’s got to win these awards.
Red (or yellow) flag: Way too many cautions. At one point, Shaw was suspended in both the Premier League and Champions League for yellow card accumulation. Better discipline, please. KC
By the time United’s annual player of the year celebrations had rolled around, all hope of a successful end to the season had been extinguished for some time. Despite the glorious two months that was the start of the Solskjaer era, United ended the season under the new manager as they started it under the old one — looking like a team short on quality, fitness, and ideas. It was fitting then, that in such an underwhelming season, even the player of the year awards did not fail to disappoint.
Luke Shaw had a fine season. Given how far his stock had fallen last season, it was a commendable turnaround to not just nail down a first team place, but to become one of the team’s more consistent performers. Shaw was often good in 2018-19, sometimes bad, but usually just pretty decent. Sadly, in a season where United conceded a record number of goals in a Premier League season, “pretty decent” was more than enough to stand out. Victor Lindelöf was the better player and defender, but the Swede did not truly come into his own until the second half of the season.
As much improved as Shaw was this past year, he still has some work to do to prove himself worthy of a regular starting job in a team that intends to challenge for trophies. Even in his “coming of age” season, he failed to hit the heights of the early weeks of 2015-16 when he genuinely looked like a world-class talent before his awful leg break. He has also never regained the level of fitness he had at that time, a deficiency that was exposed in the second half of the season with regularity as he was often caught upfield and built a habit of giving away fouls (and picking up bookings) when trying to recover. Perhaps a summer of intense fitness work, combined with the confidence of having a secure place in the team will help Shaw come back next season even better. With so many other areas of the team to address — including 2 of the 3 places next to him in the back 4 — Shaw may get the chance to prove himself and further grow into his role by default. BM