Luke Shaw produced one of his finest displays for Manchester United as free-scoring Mohamed Salah and Liverpool were kept quiet, but Sunday’s man-of-the-match cares little for the plaudits as he knows there is “another level” to come.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side dug deep after suffering three first-half injuries to hold Jurgen Klopp’s Reds to a 0-0 draw at a crackling Old Trafford.
United defended with a cohesion and resilience rarely seen towards the end of Jose Mourinho’s reign, and 60 per cent of supporters named Shaw man-of-the-match after a display that saw ineffective Salah taken off.
Injuries and long spells out of the side means such performances have been all too infrequent since arriving from Southampton in 2014, but those setbacks have only sharpened the 23-year-old’s determination to reach the heights he knows he is capable of scaling.
Asked if the Liverpool match was one of his best performances for United, Shaw said: “Defensively definitely, yeah, but these are the games that you want to try and step up in, you want to try and prove why you’re here.
“You want to play against the best, you want to test yourself against the best and I want to keep doing that in my career.
“I’m still quite young. There’s always room to improve and that’s what I want to do, keep improving and see what happens.”
This time last year few predicted Shaw would still be at United, given his contract was due to run out at the end of the 2018-19 season and his inexplicable place in Mourinho’s bad books.
But the 23-year-old has enjoyed a marked change in fortunes this term, establishing himself as the club’s first-choice left back, returning to the England fold and signing a new deal until at least 2023.
“I think I’ve still got another level to come,” Shaw said after a performance that is sure to have impressed watching Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.
“I don’t think I am really at my best and I know what I can do when I’m at my best.
“Of course I am happy with how it went today but there’s still more to come from me especially. And that’s me being honest.
“I feel I can do more but the only thing I need to focus on is myself, keeping myself in the right conditions and keep pushing myself every day and trying to become what I want to be.
“Like I said, just keeping working hard and the most important thing in football is to keep enjoying it.
“At the moment, everyone at this club is doing that and it’s great to be around.”
Shaw’s focus on personal development is driven by a desire to help United improve. Quick to thank the fans for their support, the left-back’s focus on the greater good was evident when asked about seeing Salah taken off in the second half.
“During the game, I’m so focused on just my job and what’s happening in the game to really sort of focus on him coming off,” he said.
“Not just me, but I felt everyone today did an amazing job and the result wasn’t what we wanted obviously for us and the fans.
“We were all very disappointed with how the first half went. We didn’t play well at all. But we had a change of formation, we had a good chat at half-time. Everyone was going crazy.
“But, you know, we said, ‘relax and we just need to play our game’ and I think second half was better.
“We still weren’t at our best but overall I think we created the best chances and I feel we should have won.”
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