Back in September, Luke Shaw suffered an horrific leg break in the Champions League match against PSV Eindhoven, prematurely ending his season which had previously looked so promising. Now, the left back is on the verge of a return which has left many people wondering whether Shaw can possibly return to the levels which we saw in glimpses earlier in the campaign.
The answer we all want to hear is, of course, yes, and there is a very real chance he will. At only 20-years-old, he is young enough to recover to the point that the injury may not affect him again. Shaw has also, under the influence of Louis Van Gaal, ignored the temptation to rush back from his injury, with it initially thought that he could feature in some part in the FA Cup Final against Crystal Palace. However, it is now believed that the former Southampton man will scrap that, along with Euro 2016, to step up his recovery in time for the club’s pre-season tour of China in July.
This should be viewed as a very bold move. The temptation to try to break into England’s Euro 2016 squad must have been great, although he and the club have seemingly looked at the bigger picture. Shaw is, after all, young enough to potentially appear in another seven major tournaments for his country. His time will come.
Patience and rehabilitation are key to making a full recovery in this type of injury, as we saw with the horrific double fracture suffered by Aaron Ramsey for Arsenal in 2010. That injury kept the Welshman out for nine months, similar to Shaw, but the way he was nurtured by Arsenal and the patient approach in dealing with the injury helped Ramsey to make a full recovery.
Ramsey was of a very similar age to Shaw when he suffered his injury in the game against Stoke in 2010, and was eased back into first team action at a rate that slowly saw him become one of the club’s most consistent performers of recent years. Returning in November of 2010, it was thought that it would be better to loan him out to Nottingham Forest, then former club Cardiff City, in an attempt to help him regain that all-important match fitness.
Shaw, on the other hand, has the added luxury of a full pre-season campaign to look forward to, an opportunity that can aid his recovery and pull him back up to a level in which he would expect.
Manchester United fans have been wondering ‘what if?’ when it comes to Luke Shaw. What if he had been fit all season? After an indifferent campaign last season, his form during the opening part of this season earned plaudits from all over the country. He surely would have been a shoe-in at left back for England this summer, and he would have been an ever-present in the Manchester United first team.
Can Luke Shaw reach the heights in which we witnessed during the opening months of the season? On the surface, it looks as thought the recovery process has been handled excellently. Of course, we won’t fully know the answer until we see him back on the football field. However, I personally expect big things of the £30 million man upon his return next season.