Burton-on-Trent, United Kingdom, Sep 4 – Luke Shaw considered retiring after a horrific injury that could have seen his right leg amputated three years ago, but the Manchester United left-back believes he is finally fully fit and ready to deliver on his potential after earning an England recall.
Shaw was the world’s most expensive teenager when he signed for United from Southampton for a reported £27 million ($35 million) in 2014, weeks after representing England at the World Cup in Brazil.
Following a difficult first season at Old Trafford, he was in fine form during the first few weeks of the 2015/16 season before having his leg broken by PSV Eindhoven’s Hector Moreno in the Champions League.
Shaw has only played seven minutes of international football in the three years since as he has struggled to hold down a place in the United team until the start of this season.
But it could have been much worse were it not for emergency surgery before being flown home from the Netherlands after his leg break.
“I was really close to losing my leg. I never knew that until six months later when the doctor told me,” said Shaw on Tuesday.
“At the time they were thinking about flying me back and, if I had flown back, then I would have probably lost my leg because of the blood clots and stuff in the leg.
“I’ve got two scars down the side of my leg where they had to cut them open and remove them.”
– World Cup ‘gutting’ to watch –
A lot period of rehab followed. But even after returning to the field, Shaw has struggled for form and fitness over the past two seasons and been singled out for some stinging criticism by manager Jose Mourinho.
As a result, he was just another fan as Gareth Southgate’s England side captivated the hearts of a nation in reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia.
“That made me want it more. The World Cup is the biggest stage for any footballer. It was wonderful to see how well we did as a team, and how far we got was brilliant. But also it was quite gutting not to be there,” he added.
Shaw went away to do extra training in Dubai over the summer to get fit for the new campaign and has impressed Mourinho in an otherwise troubled start to the season for United.
That has been recognised by Southgate with a return to the national team when qualifying for Euro 2020 begins with a Nations League opener against Spain at Wembley on Saturday.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about stopping playing football but I had a lot of good people around me, good friends, good family and they helped me through it.
“This is where I want to be, playing football in the biggest games possible. I want to be winning trophies and doing this kind of stuff.
“That’s my motivation and I want to one day be recognised as one of the best left-backs in the world.”