The £27m left-back has been left out of England’s squad for this summer’s European U21 Championship because he is “not medically fit”, according to Southgate.
That is as much explanation as the Under-21 boss is prepared to give for fear of irritating United, but he insists Louis van Gaal or the club did not have the final say on Shaw’s inclusion.
“Luke hasn’t been told to withdraw from the squad,” Southgate said, against the backdrop of Van Gaal’s recent claim that Shaw has “crossed his limits” and “needs that rest”.
“What Van Gaal said hasn’t inflamed the situation from our point of view. I have dealt with Luke the whole season and I know the player and the medical team are in constant contact.”
Asked about the specifics of Shaw’s problem, he said: “I cannot answer that. We had a couple of young players with injuries in the last camp and we started to go into detail. Clubs aren’t very keen on that.
“Medically we don’t own the players. They could go into fixtures the following week and someone could target that.
“We live in a world now with security of information… medical negligence…that is the world we live in. We have to be mindful that the data on things like that are owned by clubs or the individual player.
“I know historically we have always said ‘he has a groin, he has a hamstring, he has a …’. Maybe (those days are over).”