Luke Shaw has credited Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho for his early-season form, which earned him a recall to the England national team.
The 23-year-old left back came in for stinging criticism from Mourinho on more than one occasion last term after failing to make progress at Old Trafford.
Shaw had impressed early on in his United career before a double leg fracture sidelined him for seven months during the 2015/16 campaign.
But the Southampton youth product has looked United’s best player in the opening four matches of the new Premier League season and finally opened his account for the club in a 2-1 win over Leicester, which was voted Goal of the Month for August.
A call-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad followed, and Shaw was quick to praise Mourinho for motivating him to fight for his place in the first team.
“Of course, it was a tough two years, but I think mentally I’ve come out stronger, made me want to prove to him (Mourinho) that I can do what sometimes he said I couldn’t,” the Red Devils defender said at a press conference.
“At this stage I feel really good and just focusing on what’s to come, doing things right and training hard.
“I think he got frustrated with me because he knew I could be better and maybe at times I look back and think he could be right. But I don’t want to focus on that.
‘I spoke with him before the season and he said he wanted me to stay and fight for my place, and that motivated me a lot in the off-season. I’ve come back, played pre-season games, got my fitness fully and it’s all good.
“Of course [he had] a lot [of an impact in the recall], he put his trust into me at the start of the season and at times it would’ve been easy for him to say: ‘I want to sell him and I don’t want him here anymore’.
“But I think he’s always believed in me and I always believed in myself. You could say he’s had a big part, but I think personally I’ve done a lot too to get into his team and into his trust.”
"Luke Shaw should undoubtedly be our Player of the Month." – @RandhawaMUFC
"Class. My left-back ❤️🔥" – @Veenie02
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 4, 2018
Shaw also revealed that he almost lost his leg following the double break suffered in a Champions League 2-1 defeat by PSV Eindhoven back in September 2015.
“No-one knows but I was really close to actually losing my leg. I never knew that until six months later when the doctor told me,” he said.
“At the time, they were thinking about flying me back and if I’d have flown back, I would probably have lost my leg because of the blood clots and stuff.
“I’ve got – I don’t want to talk about it too much – two scars down the side of my leg where they had to cut it open and pull them out because of how severe it was.
“But I don’t really care about that anymore. I feel really strong – and my right leg is exactly as it was before my leg break.”