Manchester United defender Luke Shaw inspired to get fit after embarrassing holiday snap… but says he's built like Wayne Rooney
Shaw’s body shape has been a constant source of social media chatter, not least when he was pictured on holiday in Ibiza earlier this summer.
But having jetted off to Dubai for extra training before Manchester United’s pre-season tour, the left-back finally decided to publicly address the issue.
Shaw, 23, admitted: “I want to look ten times better than I did in those pictures.
“I have worked really hard and not just for the critics.
“I wanted to do it for myself to get in the best shape — and that wasn’t my best shape.
“People think because of the way I’m naturally built, I’m bigger than I am.
"Of course, people can say that I’m fat but I know my own body.
“I’ve had times in the past where maybe it has been fair comment and I haven’t been in the best shape possible.
“I guess you’ve just got to take it because there is always going to be negative criticism and positive stuff.
“But both of them can make you stronger.
“I think I’ve been unlucky because I’ve had a few ups and downs with different managers.
“I would say I’ve never been out of shape. I’ve just, I don’t know, sometimes people don’t think I’m fitter than I am.
“Of course, I always look big because I’m bigger built and have a sort of Wayne Rooney type of body.
“The way I am, with my body shape, means I need to be playing games.
“But I feel really good right now and I’m raring to go.”
There was a time last season when Shaw thought he would be raring to go somewhere other than Old Trafford.
He struggled to get in Jose Mourinho’s match-day squad at times — never mind the team.
And his lowest point came in their 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over Brighton last March when he got hauled off at half-time after being torn into by the boss.
A furious Mourinho later gave him a public dressing down — and pointedly accused certain United stars of a “lack of class and a lack of desire”.
Asked whether he thought his Red Devils career was over at that point, Shaw said: “Not doubts, but there was emotion.
“I was very upset, though he only does stuff like that because he knows what I can do.
“After the Brighton game, it was literally like two days after. I hadn’t spoken to him — I was very upset.
“We were training and he spoke with me after and said, ‘It’s frustrating to see you like that as I know you can do this’.
“It’s horrible at times because people only see those things he says in public.
“That’s fine, because I’m a grown man and I can take stuff like that. I’m used to it.
It's Shaw been a rough ride
JUNE 2014: Joins United from Southampton in a £33million deal aged 18 — becoming the most expensive teen ever after his World Cup debut in Brazil.
JULY 2014: Holiday cut short with United boss Louis Van Gaal claiming he is not “fit enough”.
SEPT 2014: Senior debut in 2-1 win over West Ham after he missed start of season with a hamstring injury.
OCT 2014: Named in the 40-man shortlist for Golden Boy award.
SEPT 2015: Suffers double leg break in 2-1 Champions League loss at PSV Eindhoven.
AUG 2016: Returns from injury for the Community Shield.
SEPT 2016: Jose Mourinho slams Shaw over tactical awareness after loss at Watford.
APRIL 2017: Called out by Jose for his physique, told to get fit.
MAR 2018: Hooked at half-time against Brighton and publicly criticised by his boss.
“But the stuff inside the training ground, no one sees that apart from me.”
That chat was followed this summer by a morale-boosting text from Mourinho when he was in Dubai training and spending time with his girlfriend.
Although Shaw, who joined from Southampton in 2014 in a £33million deal, admits he was a tad too eager to acknowledge it.
But that was only because he was paranoid the Portuguese might have thought he was just sat lazing around!
Shaw explained: “It was funny. I was just on my phone flicking through stuff. I got the text and accidentally clicked on it straightaway.
“He’s probably thinking, ‘Jesus Christ!’ But that wasn’t the case. I said to my girlfriend, ‘F***, I’ve just opened it and I must look so weird now’.
“It was fine. I left it a little bit to reply because I didn’t want to look too eager. One of the texts said: ‘I know what you can do.
“You can be the best but you’ve just got to work on a couple of things.’
“I spoke with the boss about a week after the holidays.
"We had a really good chat and it made me feel really confident about the upcoming season.
“That’s why I worked really hard and I’m working harder than ever — because I want to prove to him that I can be in this team.”
Shaw’s struggles last season cost him a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup in Russia.
That was tough for him to take, particularly as he had been picked for the tournament in Brazil four years earlier.
Shaw added: “Everyone wants to go to the World Cup. I missed the Euros because I picked up the injury that year.
“Obviously I was there at the World Cup before. I know how special it was, even though we didn’t get as far as this time.
“It was still the best experience of my life and I loved it.
“It was horrible sitting there watching it this summer. It was nice they were doing so well, and it was amazing, but you are wishing you were there.
“That’s another thing that’s pushing me on. The next England call-up and tournament, I want to be involved.
“I want to be a Manchester United player — but also an England player.
"To do that, I need to be playing games.
“One thing is for sure, I’m much fitter, more confident, and a different person than I was during last season.
“I’ve grown and learned a lot from the situations I’ve been in. But I don’t want to be in that situation again.
“When I’m fit, I’m so confident as you know you can do all the runs and be aggressive like the manager wants.
“I guess the ball is in my court now and I need to do what I know I can do.”
Listening to all this, you really hope he does.
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