Ashley Cole has selected the left-back who is leading the race to start the first game for England at this summer’s European Championships.
The delayed 2020 tournament in less than three months away and competition for places is as intense as it has ever been. Not only do England have a plethora of right-backs to select from, but the opposite flank is also as keenly contested. Cole though thinks Manchester United man Luke Shaw is a the front of the queue after a superb season at Old Trafford
Shaw has been excellent for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side this season and was rewarded with his first England call-up since September 2018.
Shaw started in the win over Albania on Sunday and provided the cross for Harry Kane’s opening goal. And Cole thinks he is ahead of Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka.
“I think it’s a tight one between Shaw who I think is just pipping it at the minute,” Cole, capped 107 times, told ITV.
“I think he is playing more consistently for Manchester United, where as Chilwell… some days he plays [for Chelsea] and some days he doesn’t.
“I think at the moment Shaw is in the lead. But who knows? Going into the last games of the Premier League season, who can hold their nerve and keep that consistency up before the squad gets announced.”
Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane also agreed with Cole. “This year he’s been outstanding,” said Keane. “I know he’s had issues under Mourinho, obviously, but he’s been consistent this year.
“Going forward but defensively I think he has the edge over the other full-backs in the England squad. He’s improved that, no one has really got the better of him this season one vs one.”
Shaw delighted to be back
Shaw, told ITV: “Very happy to win on my first game back. Gareth said it before we want clean sheets and we got another. The pitch at times was difficult but we got the three points. Job done.
“Maybe a crucial time for me as I gave a couple of sloppy balls away. When you play with Kane you know he will be in that area for you to hit.
“We controlled the tempo well at times. Their only chances came from mistakes to us. The pitch didn’t help but no excuses. We know we made a couple of mistakes. Gareth said after we needed to control it better. Better teams might punish us.
“The last two years I have been watching the games and regretting not having taken my chance. I am so happy to be back. I would love to be in the Euros squad. There is high competition. I will keep pushing myself.”