Erik ten Hag believes Luke Shaw is Manchester United’s “example at the moment” because of the defender’s honesty. The manager has praised how the England international dealt with Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne in Saturday’s win over Manchester City.
Ten Hag dropped Shaw after the first two Premier League games but the defender was reinstated after missing the next five league matches and has performed impressively.
“I like that he’s so honest,” Ten Hag said. “After the second game he didn’t play and said: ‘I fully understand, my performance is not right.’ But from the first day in training at pre-season he was working really hard and you can see when he has the right approach he’s a top player. I don’t mean only as a team player; he’s a leader. He’s shown a lot of leadership capacities – he’s the example at this moment – and with his skills and his physical power he brings a lot.
“Now, also with his mentality. He’s an example of how to win big games. I’m really happy with his development. It’s been huge either at center-half or left full-back. He’s a great player and a great personality for the dressing room.”
Ten Hag said it was a difficult call to field the 27-year-old at centre-back in the 2-1 derby victory. “It is a big decision but when you analyze the profile of Haaland and the combination with De Bruyne it was also the right decision because Luke has the physical power to compete with them and has the tactical view to make the right decision and technical skills to play in that position,” he said.
“It matched really well but in other games he can contribute even more on the left in the wide positions, so it’s a tactical choice and we can see from game to game what we need. We have more players in our squad who have the ability to be multi-functional and we can use that as a weapon.”
Alejandro Garnacho created Marcus Rashford’s winner against City and Ten Hag pointed to the 18-year-old winger’s quality. “He has a skill that I don’t see many players in the Premier League having: he beats players one on one.” . United are in positive discussions with Garnacho regarding a new contract. The Argentinian’s current terms of about £5,000 a-week expires in summer, with the club holding an option of an extra year. It is thought he wants an increase to a minimum £30,000 a-week.
United play at Crystal Palace on Wednesday hoping to win 10 consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time since January-February 2009 under Sir Alex Ferguson. Anthony Martial is a fitness doubt so Wout Weghorst could start after his loan move.