Irwin backs Shaw to bounce back at Manchester United
Luke Shaw has been backed to succeed at Manchester United by club legend Denis Irwin despite the left-back falling out of favour under Jose Mourinho.
Shaw - who suffered a double leg fracture in September 2015 - has started six Premier League games, the last of which was in October against Burnley.
The 21-year-old has not appeared in any competition since playing in a 4-0 FA Cup win against Wigan Athletic in January.
Mourinho publicly criticised Shaw's performance following a 3-1 loss at Watford in September, but Irwin believes hard work can win Shaw a place in the Portuguese's plans.
"You've seen the talent's there, those first couple of months he was fantastic," said Irwin, who won seven Premier League titles and the 1999 Champions League during his 12-year United stay.
"It's up to the manager to decide when he wants to throw him in there. He's only a young lad and he's come back from a horrendous injury.
"It's been a bit of a battle this year to play left-back - you saw [Matteo] Darmian play quite a few games there, [Daley] Blind has been very, very good at left-back, very consistent, [Marcos] Rojo played in the [EFL Cup] final on Sunday, there's competition there for Luke.
"All he can do is get his head down, work as hard as possible to impress the manager. He's only young so he's got time on his side. It looks like the position that's the most open in the team at the moment. I think everybody will be given an opportunity with the amount of games coming up."
Former Republic of Ireland international Irwin said it is possible the memory of his injury, which he sustained in a Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven has had a long-standing impact on Shaw's game.
"I think you have to be in that position to assess that," Irwin said. "I was fortunate enough not to pick up any injuries as severe as Luke got. It can't be easy.
"He's only a young lad and he's got a vastly experienced manager there, a lot of experienced players there that he can talk to. He just needs to keep going and work hard."