Luke Shaw hints at unhappiness at Manchester United amid a difficult season at Old Trafford as the left-back reveals he is enjoying ‘playing with a smile’ and ‘feeling wanted’ with England after goal against Switzerland
Luke Shaw made the frank admission he is enjoying playing more for England than Manchester United after he played a key role in the win over Switzerland.
The left back, who has not played for his club since a 0-0 draw with Watford on February 26, was in the right place at the right time to score a game-changing equaliser at Wembley, as England won 2-1; Harry Kane moved level with Sir Bobby Charlton on 49 goals when converting a late penalty.
Shaw has never been afraid to speak his mind on international duty and, in an interview with Sky Sports, he was candid about the difficulties he has faced at Old Trafford over the course of the campaign and admitted that being away with England was liberating.
Luke Shaw scored for England to equalise against Switzerland as they went on to win 2-1
Shaw suggested it is more fun playing for England than it is right now for Manchester United
‘The environment here that Gareth (Southgate) creates, you always enjoy it,’ said Shaw.
‘When I come here it’s about enjoyment and playing games with a smile on my face.
‘We all love playing for our country and when we’re here we’re all focused on what’s happening here.’
Asked whether he needed to be happy to play well, Shaw replied: ‘I think everyone does.
‘It’s always important to feel like you’re wanted and especially here I always feel that. I’m not saying I don’t at United, but especially here, the way things are, I feel wanted and I enjoy my football.
Shaw explained that he is able to play with a smile on his face when he is with the Three Lions
‘A big part of football is the enjoyment and, of course, it’s hard to enjoy when we’re losing and not playing well at club level. We have to face that.
‘This season hasn’t been good enough at all and it’s hard to enjoy. We’ve got a lot to improve but right now we’re here at England. My focus is on that.’
It prompted Jamie Redknapp, who was working in the studio, to say: ‘You can’t underestimate the pressure players are under when they play for these clubs. If you can’t handle it, you’re probably not the best fit for these types of clubs.
‘You’re going to get stick off 50,000 people and you have to be able to accept it.
‘Of course you feel his pain when a player speaks so honestly like that, but when you want to be a footballer at 10, 11 years of age you have to accept you’ll get criticised.
Manchester United are having a tricky season and Shaw (middle) has opened up honestly on it
‘It’s not always going to be a bed of roses. He spoke very openly there – he feels a lot more comfortable playing for England.’
Southgate gave debuts to Southampton’s Kyle Walker-Peters, Crystal Palace pair Marc Guehi and Tyrick Mitchell, as well as handing a first start to Connor Gallagher. It means he has used 100 players during his time in charge of England and the victory extended an unbeaten run outside of penalty shootouts to 21 games.
On the 100 players milestone, Southgate said: ‘I’m not sure whether that is a good or bad thing but we have never turned down an opportunity to give players a chance and tried to look at the future when we make those decisions.
‘I thought Marc did exactly what I’ve seen him do.
‘I watched him for Crystal Palace and he can go under the radar because he rarely gets out of position and is so calm, so you don’t see lunging tackles and eye-catching moments.
‘He played with that discipline and assuredness. He was excellent.’
The left back added that is important to ‘feel wanted’ in comments that will divide supporters