Manchester United legend Gary Neville has voiced his main concern over left-back Luke Shaw while emphasising the potential of the club’s £27 million signing.
Shaw comes into Old Trafford with big shoes to fill as Patrice Evra stares at a move to Serie A, which could see Shaw promoted to the first team on a more frequent basis than he may have been expecting.
Neville is in no doubt over the potential Shaw promises but worries he may not be given the time and patience needed to develop due to the size of the fee and the pressure he’ll be under in Manchester.
“I am trying to keep guarded here about the size of talent that exists in this footballer - You have to watch him at close hand to realise that this is an incredible and hugely talented football player. Luke Shaw is fantastic,” Neville told MEN.
“United fans have got to understand, and this is not the boy's fault, is that when you sign someone at that age for £27m, you don't get perfection straight away - I am hoping that, from a football point of view, he is allowed to develop.”
United have made a big investment in a very young man and the deal, which was commissioned by Louis van Gaal suggests the Dutchman is looking to develop Shaw as a defender rather than subjecting him to intense scrutiny.
He could take a leaf out of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger’s book in terms of protecting younger players but LvG has experienced similar situations with younger players already during his career.
It’s a case of how Shaw handles things each time he has a bad performance for United because when that happens, question marks will instantly be placed around the price the club paid to sign him from Southampton.
However, England manager Roy Hodgson thought he had enough potential to play for England in a World Cup and the fight Southampton showed to get top price for him proves what a good player Mauricio Pochettino believed him to be.
Neville is right to be guarded but the situation has been set up by van Gaal with a long term vision and Shaw could be United’s left-back for at least the next ten years.