Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has praised Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for how he has handled him since his appointment as manager of the club.
Shaw had struggled under his previous every-manager-except-Mauricio-Pochettino, because he was unable to keep himself in shape. The 24-year-old occasional football player was often apparently full-bodied and seemed to struggle with injuries. Whether his weight and his lack of professionalism were linked is open to speculation, and the speculation would probably say: “yes.”
The former Southampton defender joined for £27 million in 2014, and as well as struggling with his weight has appeared short on confidence and tactical awareness. He has also come back to pre-season training oddly slim on one occasion before returning to his more usual weight. To be fair to him, a serious leg break during the Louis van Gaal era did seem to cut him off just as he was hitting his best form. However, Van Gaal, Roy Hodgson, Jose Mourinho and even Pochettino have expressed concern over his standards, with the Argentine making him smoothies to take care of his health.
Shaw though is happier now, saying: “He’s helped me a lot on the pitch, but more so he’s been one of the biggest influences off the pitch too, with the way he handles players.
“He knows what players need. I had a difficult couple of years before he came in - I think maybe he realised that and knew what I needed.
“He’s really helped me off the pitch. He obviously believes in me, he tells me that.
“That’s the confidence you need as a player: to have the manager believe in you.”
We also get on really well and that’s a key thing - your relationship off the pitch,” Shaw told United’s official app.
“I know he’s the manager, and we all have massive respect for him, but it’s also important to have a nice relationship off the pitch too sometimes, when things aren’t too serious.”