Shaw has managed to establish himself as one of United's most consistent performers this season and grabbed two assists in Tuesday's 9-0 thumping of Southampton.
It caps a remarkable turnaround for the 25-year-old, who looked to be under threat following the summer arrival of Alex Telles.
@UtdArena on Twitter has taken a deep dive into what makes Shaw one of the Premier League's top defenders.
The thread is titled "Luke Shaw: Excellence," and focuses on his contributions while attacking down the left-hand side. You can check it out in full here.
His current season (bottom right) - I've added post-lockdown to increase the sample - is emphatic in terms of how offensively-minded he has become. This is the same Luke we saw half a decade ago (~2015) except he's significantly better now as a total package. pic.twitter.com/JReGwFfK4J- UtdArena (@utdarena) February 4, 2021
Shaw's attacking output is something he struggled with under previous managers, including Jose Mourinho who one said the England international was "playing with his brain."
Getting further up the pitch allows Shaw to get more crosses into the box, whether that be a looping ball over or his much preferred cutbacks.
Here, I clustered four of his most common on-ball actions. This is mightily impressive as splitting zones and beating the last line are effectively midfielder-based actions whilst his crosses match up to top full backs.- UtdArena (@utdarena) February 4, 2021
This highlights how offensively dynamic he's become. pic.twitter.com/SG4mYNdo8n
This, again, is all good but the question now becomes: "Is he truly more proactive and progressive or is it just that he's proactive at times and the above are just those specific times?"- UtdArena (@utdarena) February 4, 2021
Marcus Rashford is United's regular left winger and he shares a relationship with Shaw that allows for more efficiency when making overlapping and underlapping runs.
Overlapping:- UtdArena (@utdarena) February 4, 2021
Despite his underlaps being more predominant, he's also developed a recent overlap this season which he's added to the list. These are things he didn't do much of before. Here, he makes a ~40m run right to the byline and was able to beat his man with the cross. pic.twitter.com/RBau9Ipz4H
High Combinations:- UtdArena (@utdarena) February 4, 2021
Yes, they actually have this combination higher up, too! This one occurred in the same game less than 30 minutes later. He plays the ball off to Rashy and then underlaps him to receive it back in a high-value zone. He's starting to do this much more now. pic.twitter.com/U23dhaTENo
Luke's Premier League (20/21) rank (full backs):- UtdArena (@utdarena) February 4, 2021
1st - expected assists
1st - shot assists (a.k.a. "chances created)
1st - progressive carries into final third
3rd - progressive passes
He's become proficient in carrying progressively, passing progressively and chance creation.
Former United defender Denis Irwin recently claimed Shaw is the best full-back in the Premier League.
When asked,the Red Devils legend replied: "Absolutely.
"Alex Telles coming in has probably pushed him and he's been really top class in the last couple of months.
"His overlapping is there to see, his defending is there to see. It's good that he's got competition. He had Brandon Williams last year, and raised his game, and he's got Alex Telles this year and that has helped him to raise his game.
"Certainly, at the moment, as things stand, he is the best left-back in the league.
"There's Ben Chilwell down at Chelsea. Obviously, they're going through a tough time but he's a really decent player.
"There are one or two others - Ryan Bertrand at Southampton has been doing well and I'm missing one or two more, maybe Andy Robertson. But I agree with you. Luke is playing really, really well and certainly the best he's played for Manchester United."
Featured Image Credit: PA Images & UtdArena/Twitter
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