Sunday 22 April 2018

Luke Shaw expected to make Manchester United return against Wigan on Saturday

Manchester United's Luke Shaw
Manchester United's Luke Shaw

James Ducker

Luke Shaw is hoping to make his first team comeback for Manchester United in a friendly against Wigan Athletic on Saturday, almost ten months to the day since the England left back suffered a sickening broken leg.

The defender is in contention to feature in Jose Mourinho’s first game as United manager as he steps up his recovery after fracturing the tibia and fibula in his right leg during a Champions League defeat away to PSV Eindhoven last September.

Shaw, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Tuesday, returned to first team training in mid-May but Louis van Gaal, Mourinho’s predecessor as manager, felt it was too soon to give the player a run-out at the end of last season.

But Shaw has now been passed fit for first team action and could line up for United against Wigan, newly promoted to the Championship after winning the League One title last term, at the DW Stadium on Saturday lunchtime.

Mourinho has high hopes for the England international, who he tried to sign as Chelsea manager two summers ago only for the player to opt instead to join United from Southampton for £28 million.

Mourinho claimed at the time that signing Shaw would have “killed” the stability in the Chelsea dressing room given the player’s wage demands but he values the left back highly and expects him to form a potent combination down the left flank with Anthony Martial next season.

Memphis Depay, the United winger, had posted a picture of him and Shaw on his Instagram account this week accompanied by the words: “Shout out to my boy, 21! Finally a grown man, happy birthday Luke Shaw. Great to be back on the training pitch together.”

But as big a season as this will be for Shaw, it could also be a very significant one for Depay as Mourinho weighs up whether the mercurial Holland winger is good enough to form part of his long-term plans.

Depay was dropped from United’s 18-man squad for the FA Cup final triumph against Crystal Palace last season after falling foul of Van Gaal and faces a battle to win the trust of Mourinho.

New signings, defender Eric Bailly, and midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, are in line for their debuts against Wigan however.

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