Recalled England defender Luke Shaw has spent most of the past year coming back from a double leg break but he never recoiled from watching the incident back.
The Manchester United left-back was left crumbled in pain and nursing two fractures in his right leg after a challenge from PSV Eindhoven’s Hector Moreno last September.
It was the kind of injury that draws winces from team-mates and fans alike and, although it cost Shaw the rest of the season, an FA Cup final appearance and a place at Euro 2016, he does not find it difficult to watch or talk about.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Slovakia, where he will be vying with Tottenham’s Danny Rose for a starting berth, the 21-year-old was happy to show off the two neat scars left behind by his surgeons.
“I don’t mind answering questions about my leg. I think sometimes people don’t like talking about it, but I’m not bothered,” he said.
“I wasn’t bothered watching videos of it or pictures of my leg. That might sound a bit weird but I feel comfortable talking about it because now I feel stronger than ever.
“At first I did start thinking ‘am I really like this?’ but it’s my leg at the end of the day.
“Obviously I went through a bad time during the leg break but I came through that stronger as a person. Now it does not faze me.”
His strong stomach and lack of squeamishness extends to seeing similar injuries to other players, but it was certainly not a quality passed down in the genes.
“I don’t like to see it (happen to others) because I know what they’re going through, obviously, but I can look at it,” he said.
“But mum and dad? They hate it. Especially dad.”
Despite his willingness to entertain questions about his injury and subsequent lay-off, Shaw does not want to be defined by it.
Instead, having started the season as a first-choice under Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford and won his England spot back at the first time of asking, he wants to get people talking about his exploits on the field.
“Of course I don’t want people to know me as the left-back who broke his leg when he was young. I want to be winning trophies, not just with United but with England as well.
“I want them to know me for how I play on the pitch and for how many trophies I hopefully win.”
Shaw was bedbound during the early days of his lay-off, and was eased gently back into training by the medical staff at Carrington, but privately he had targeted a comeback in time for the Euros.
There were even whispers he had been pushing for a role in United’s FA Cup final, but such aspirations sprung more from the eagerness of youth than a solid assessment of his fitness.
“It’s a Euros and it’s obviously a massive thing for me but I did give up towards about a month left,” he said. “That’s the best decision I could have made. I wish I was there, but I look back at it now as a good decision I didn’t go.”
Waiting for Shaw at United was Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese had tried on a couple of occasions to sign the player, going head to head with the Red Devils when he was Chelsea manager in 2014.
Reports at the time suggested United had offered a better wage deal, but Shaw insists his decision was purely about his best chance of playing first-team football.
The Portuguese has clearly not held that against him, making him an instant first choice, but he did remind Shaw about it.
“We spoke about it. He said it to me first….I was just going to leave it,” explained the former Southampton full-back.
“He had a joke at me about it but there are no hard feelings. It wasn’t even a talk we had to have, to clear the air or anything.
“I just thought that at that point in my career, I had a better chance of playing at Manchester United. Patrice Evra was leaving and Jose, at that time, had a solid back four that I knew he liked. So, even though Chelsea were much closer to my home, I felt United were the better choice for me.
“I was never focused on the money side at that point. It wasn’t to do with wages, it was about football.”
Mourinho might have been happy with his left-back but he was busy improving the United side elsewhere, not least at centre forward where the mercurial talent Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived on a free from Paris St Germain.
As well as being an instant hit, with four goals in as many games, it is hoped the veteran Swede can be an inspirational figure to the club’s youngsters.
And Shaw can already feel his influence.
“He’s been really good. His aura…his presence,” he explained.
“Jose said it: he’s always around the younger lads, bringing that experience in for everyone.
“For me to have someone like that with that experience, to talk to and learn from his experience… that’s special.
“He’s got good stories as well. Sitting at the dinner table, he tells a lot of jokes, but he wants the best from everyone as well. He’s focused on himself and the team, but he wants to do the best he can and get the best out of us players, too.
“He doesn’t miss anything. He sees it all and, if you’re not putting the effort in, he’ll tell you.”
Press Association Sport