Luke Shaw has offered his experiences of a tough first season at Manchester United to new recruit Anthony Martial and believes he is playing the best football of his career.
The 20-year-old has enjoyed an impressive start to the season with both United and England having struggled in his debut year at Old Trafford.
Shaw moved to Manchester United from Southampton last summer for £30million to become the most expensive teenager in football – a record since smashed when the Red Devils moved for Martial on transfer deadline day.
But, despite starring for Saints in his breakthrough season, a number of injuries and a poor run of form saw him make just 15 Premier League starts as Daley Blind became Louis van Gaal’s first-choice left-back.
This season he has hit the ground running for both club and country and is pleased to have turned things around.
“Obviously last season was very difficult for me,” he said.
“I just feel fresh and fit and hopefully I can get a run of games now and keep my performances up. I trained before I went back to pre-season. That was a massive help to me and now I just want to keep on playing well.
“It was made hard with the injuries that I picked up. I didn’t expect that to happen as much as it did.
“I think that is what knocked my confidence down, I never got fully fit, so whenever I was playing I wasn’t at my best and I didn’t feel at my best. Now I am playing and I feel great.
“To be honest I feel better than I did at Southampton. Game by game I feel like I’m getting stronger, especially in training. I just want to keep it up now and pray there are no injuries.”
Much has been made about the pressure surrounding Martial and the £36million fee that United paid Monaco for his services. Martial’s transfer fee could also rise by a further £21million in add-ons.
The 19-year-old has already said it will not phase him and Shaw has offered himself up as someone to talk to – recommending he keeps himself out of the media spotlight.
“Of course you see it,” he said of negative press.
“I think I read too much of it last year. I tend to ignore it now. There are always going to be highlights especially for someone like me who went for so much money.
“There are always going to be people doubting me and wanting to write bad stuff about me but obviously just to ignore it and carry on playing the way I am.
“Of course I am always willing to help people no matter how old they are. Obviously I know he might find it a bit tough with everything that’s going on with social media. We have great people at the club. Staff and players. We will all welcome him very well.
“He is a young player with a lot of potential. Hopefully we can help him and he will learn a lot from players like Wayne Rooney. It’s great for him to have someone like that.
“He looks like he has got that pace and ability that we might need. At United I think we need a bit more pace and I think he is going to bring that.”