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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."
Wouldn't mind being as "fat" as Luke Shaw tbh pic.twitter.com/M3ZdmW2LNP
- Ryan Baldi (@RyanBaldiFW) July 6, 2018
Slate him for being fat. Slate him for starting training early to get fit. Slate him for brightening his teeth. Shaw can't win. He's first proper pre season since breaking his leg and everyone's still out to get him no matter what. Still 23, he's quite good WHEN he actually plays
- James Stretford (@Jamesstretford) July 13, 2018
Luke Shaw will never be trusted by Jose no matter how fat or fit he is.
- James Stretford (@Jamesstretford) July 26, 2018
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.
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