Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Paul Scholes suggests winner of Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia battle after struggling to suss out Ten Hag thoughts

Luke Shaw with a questioning expression

Paul Scholes has suggested who should be playing at left-back most often for Manchester United between Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia.

Shaw and Malacia are fighting for the same position this season after the latter’s summer transfer from Feyenoord. He is already providing sterner competition to Shaw than his predecessor Alex Telles, who is currently out on loan at Sevilla as a result.

To date this season, Malacia has made 11 appearances in all competitions. There have been seven outings for him in the Premier League and four in the Europa League.

All but two of his appearances have been starts, as he has taken advantage of Shaw’s unavailability for some fixtures.

In contrast, the England international has played seven times – four in the Premier League and three in the Europa League. Half of his appearances have been from the first minute.

Most recently, Malacia got the nod for a Europa League win over Omonia Nicosia on Thursday night. Shaw came on for him in the second half, playing for the last half an hour.

Each will be in contention to play for Manchester United when they return to Premier League duties against Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.

Over the course of the season, it will be interesting to see who ends up as Erik ten Hag’s first choice.

According to former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes, Shaw just edges it at the moment – although it is hard to discern whether Ten Hag shares the same opinion.

Scholes said on BT Sport: “It’s very difficult to say with this manager and what he’s thinking [who will start against Newcastle]. Luke Shaw, when he’s fit, is one of the best left-backs around. He did really well when he came on and again on Sunday [against Everton].

“Malacia has done well for a young kid coming over into a new league, he’s adapted well. But if you’re choosing between [the two], Luke Shaw is just slightly ahead.”

Luke Shaw has earned place but must work hard to keep it

Given his greater experience – Shaw is four years Malacia’s senior – Scholes probably has a point. But it can only be beneficial for him and Manchester United to have stronger competition to keep him on his toes.

Shaw has had his fair share of injury issues over the years, too. Therefore, Man Utd have been wanting to make sure they don’t suffer too much without him.

Malacia is now giving them more flexibility and confidence even when the former Southampton star is unavailable.

But when Shaw is ready for selection, it seems he might be the one Ten Hag sticks with. He has earned his status at the club, even if there will always be room to improve.

However, there have been exit links for the longer-serving defender. Newcastle are reportedly keeping tabs on Shaw’s situation in case he becomes frustrated at Ten Hag’s rotation.

Hence, he will have to keep fighting for his place in the months to come.

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