Luke Shaw has been warned he will no longer be “comfortable” at Manchester United due to the “pressure” for his place added by Tyrell Malacia.
Manchester United recently made Malacia their first signing of the Erik ten Hag era. The left-back has penned a contract until 2026, with the option of a further year. His arrival will likely spell the end for Alex Telles at Old Trafford.
But another full-back who could now be looking over his shoulder is fellow left-sider Shaw. The England international is one of United’s longest serving players, but only started half of their Premier League matches last season.
Over the past 12 months, he had to miss games because of a head injury, a hamstring issue, Covid-19, a leg injury and an accumulation of yellow cards.
Manchester United will be hoping Malacia can be a better deputy for him than Telles has been. In turn, Shaw may have to raise his own levels again when he is available.
Indeed, Football Insider pundit Gabriel Agbonlahor believes Malacia is now going to keep Shaw on his toes. As a result, the former Southampton star will have to fight for his place.
Agbonlahor told the online outlet: “Ten Hag wants competition for places like every manager; you don’t want players getting comfortable.
“The new signing from Feyenoord will add that.
Pressure on Luke Shaw
“Luke Shaw has injury problems and Ten Hag will want a good option if Luke Shaw is injured.
“Luke Shaw has to come back to pre-season fighting because now he’s going to have pressure for his place.”
Shaw is four years Malacia’s senior, so will be hoping his experience can give him the edge. Turning 27 next week, the Englishman should be entering his prime years.
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His time at Old Trafford has been characterised by a number of highs and lows. But there have been more positive signs over the past couple of seasons if he can stay fit.
Still, United now have a deputy for his place that they believe in. It will be interesting to see how Ten Hag shares the gametime between Shaw and Malacia over the coming season.