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Ian Wright insists he is “delighted” for Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw after his resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford. Shaw struggled under Solskjaer’s predecessor Jose Mourinho and Wright has slammed the Portuguese for his “horrible” and “degrading” public criticism of the defender.
Shaw is thriving at United and is benefitting from Alex Telles’ summer move to the Red Devils from Porto, with the Brazil international offering him extra competition.
Despite Telles’ arrival, 25-year-old Shaw has started all nine of United’s last 11 Premier League games and has three assists in his last two top-flight matches.
He served up two assists in a 9-0 thrashing of former club Southampton despite being taken off at half-time with the game already won at 4-0.
The England international has been brilliant offensively, with only Liverpool’s Andy Robertson creating more chances from left-back in the Premier League this season, but also defensively.
While United’s defence has leaked 30 goals in 23 top-flight games, Shaw has been a shining light and has received plenty of praise from his manager Solskjaer for his form.
And Arsenal icon Wright, speaking about Shaw on BBC One on Tuesday night before the clash against West Ham, said: “Yes Ole has to get a lot of credit and when you listen to Ole talk about Luke, he says he loves talking to him, he talks about his fitness and the problems he had, to get himself to where he is now where he is fit and playing great stuff.
“Luke Shaw when he came to United from Southampton was a fantastic player. Whatever happened, the injuries or whatever, he fell off a little bit.
“But to hear some of the things the manager was saying, ‘He’s only playing well cause I’m in his ear’, stuff like that, was really horrible for me to listen to. It was quite degrading a bit.
“He’s a really good player and I’m pleased that he’s turned it round to the point where he’s playing that kind of football but he looks even more comfortable, even better, fitter, stronger.
“He’s first in sprints and runs and he’s showing exactly what he is capable of. I’m delighted for him and long may it continue for him.”
Mourinho was repeatedly critical of Shaw in public and in conversation with Gary Lineker for BBC Sport the former Saints defender has admitted he struggled.
Now in charge at Tottenham, Mourinho once told the £30million full-back to “change his football brain” and Shaw made only 34 appearances in Mourinho’s 144-game spell as manager.
Discussing his improvement under Solskjaer, Shaw has admitted working with Mourinho was difficult and hailed the Norwegian coach’s superior man-management techniques.
Shaw said: “I think, yeah, you always have some doubts. There’s been a lot of people that didn’t believe in me, especially after such a bad injury [the double leg break] and the dip in form.
“I’ve always believed I can be a player here and I just strive to do that. This is one of the best clubs in the world and you want to be here and show people what you can do here.
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“It was a very hard time [under Mourinho]. Sometimes I wasn’t able to get my word across or people were only hearing one side of the story.
“I knew at the time it was better to just keep quiet. A lot of people were behind me here so I knew I had that sort of backing. I needed to keep quiet and it’s improved my mental strength a lot.
“I’ve gone through a lot and it’s made me a better person. Ole’s style is benefitting me the most I’ve had for a while.
“His man-management is second to none and I feel he knows what he needs to do to get the best out of the players.
“It’s always nice to have an arm round the shoulder, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me feel better but it’s the confidence and belief that the manager has shown in me that has pushed me on to another level.
“There’s still much more to come, I’m still quite young and I’ve got time to improve. I want to keep improving to become a top player hopefully and keep helping the team.
“What we want to achieve is trophies and hopefully I can be a part of the squad that does that.”
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