Luke Shaw has been regularly criticised for being overweight, with images emerging of the player on holiday with his girlfriend appearing out-of-shape. But the defender has revealed the encouraging message he received from Mourinho.
Since his move from Southampton to Manchester United in 2014 for £30 million, Shaw has struggled to make an impact at Old Trafford, undergoing a horrific injury in 2015, finding difficulties with managers Louis van Gaal and a well-publicised fraught relationship with Jose Mourinho. The former Chelsea manager has made comments to the press about his unhappiness with Shaw, questioning his fitness, ambition, and commitment as a player.
Shaw found good form around Christmas last season, but during pre-season, the 23-year-old was photographed topless while in his holidays, with his body not looking like that of a top athlete in his prime. Shaw, though, says he's just got a big body. In an interview with the Guardian, he said:
"People can say I'm fat but I know my own body. I always look big because I'm bigger built - I've got that Wayne Rooney type of body."
"I worked hard and not just for them [critics]. "I'm working harder than ever and in the first game I want to look 10 times better than in that picture."
But when he visited a pre-season training camp on his own accord with his girlfriend, Shaw received a brilliant text message from Mourinho:
"F**k, I've just opened it and I must look so weird now. But it was fine. I left it a little bit to reply because I didn't want to seem too eager. It was a breath of fresh air when he texted me. I wasn't expecting it.
"I spoke to him and it was really positive. It made me feel confident about the upcoming season, and that's why I'm working harder than ever because I want to prove to him that I can be here.
"That was one of the texts he sent me in the off-season. I know what you can do - you can be the best but you've just got to work on a couple of things."
It'll be great to see Shaw make a return to form and even earn the attention of England manager Gareth Southgate.