Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal used his side’s under-21 fixture against Sunderland on Monday evening to give runs-outs to some of his senior stars.
Adnan Januzaj, Anderson and Luke Shaw all started the match, with the Belgian international netting a hat-trick. But it was Shaw’s inclusion that was the most interesting, with the left-back spending Sunday’s game against Queens Park Rangers on the bench before starting for what is in essence the reserve team.
With Marcos Rojo now at the club, Shaw has an unexpected challenge for a starting spot. But he lasted only 45 minutes of Monday’s match as he continues his return from injury.
However, under-21 boss Warren Joyce has since revealed that Shaw’s relatively brief appearance was planned, and that he would continue his fitness training in the coming days.
“That was pre-planned,” Joyce said of Shaw’s substitution. “He can do other bits during the week.”
But the teenager must now be wondering just how many starts he will get for the club that waved goodbye to Patrice Evra this summer; because despite the Frenchman’s exit, the arrival of Rojo has changed things, especially if van Gaal opts to continue with four at the back moving forward.
For now all Shaw can do is impress when he gets the chance and hope that is enough.