Monday 26 September 2016

Shaw needs rest - Van Gaal

Published 15/05/2015 | 16:31

Luke Shaw, right, has had a difficult first season at Manchester United
Luke Shaw, right, has had a difficult first season at Manchester United

Louis van Gaal has urged Gareth Southgate to leave Luke Shaw out of his England squad for the European Under-21 Championship.

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Southgate names his squad at St George's Park on Wednesday and Shaw was keen to go to the tournament, which runs from June 17-30 in the Czech Republic.

But Van Gaal would prefer it if he stayed at home to rest following a difficult season which has been marred by injuries.

When asked if Shaw should be selected, the United boss said: "I don't think so, no.

"When he is not playing for Manchester United, he cannot play for other teams neither. That extends to the summer.

"He needs that rest. He overcrossed his limits and that's why.

"He is 19 years old, what can you expect?

"We have to protect him. I hope (Southgate) understands that."

Van Gaal is not the only manager to have voiced his concerns about the Under-21 tournament.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez said Ross Barkley needed a "proper break" following a tough year and Mauricio Pochettino has spoken about his concerns regarding the participation of Tottenham striker Harry Kane.

Speaking last October, Shaw underlined his desire to play in the Under-21 tournament despite already having four full England caps.

The former Southampton left-back said: "I still feel I can go and help out. I'm really looking forward to it.

"Of course I would want to go to the Euros, I always want to help out my country and I know there are few other lads who can also drop down as well that summer."

One year ago this week, Shaw was riding the crest of a wave after being included in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad at the expense of 107-cap defender Ashley Cole.

But ever since he returned from Brazil and started at United, Shaw has struggled for fitness and form.

Van Gaal criticised Shaw for turning up to pre-season out of shape but then hailed the £28million signing as an example after he battled his way back to fitness.

Just after he returned, however, Shaw was sidelined with a hamstring injury and had to wait until September 27 to make his United debut.

He was ruled out for a month with an ankle injury in November and in March he was sidelined for five weeks because of yet more hamstring trouble.

A groin injury followed and now he is out of United's final home game against Arsenal on Sunday after accidentally being struck in the face by James McArthur during last weekend's 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Wayne Rooney suffered a dead leg in the match and will also miss the game against the Gunners.

There is a chance that Shaw and Rooney may also miss the final game of the season at Hull.

"We have only one match to play (after Arsenal) so I think it shall be difficult that they play before the end of the season," Van Gaal told MUTV.

Michael Carrick remains out, but Marcos Rojo could return following an adductor injury that has forced him to miss the last five matches.

Angel di Maria is available after missing the trip to Palace and Robin van Persie is fit again after recovering from illness.

If United draw against Arsenal, or Liverpool drop points against Palace, Van Gaal's men will qualify for the Champions League this weekend.

Even if United lose and Liverpool win, there would have to be a big swing in goal difference for the Reds to leapfrog their old rivals into fourth.

Knowing United are all but guaranteed to qualify for the Champions League, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward spoke of his "delight" at Van Gaal's first year in charge this week.

Van Gaal is satisfied at having brought Champions League football back to Old Trafford following a year out of the competition.

He said: "The goal was (to finish) in the first four positions, and we have reached that already two games before the end of the season - it's not bad, I think."

Press Association

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