Luke Shaw ‘extremely happy’ to return to England squad after over two years away with Gareth Southgate rewarding excellent Man United form with call-up for World Cup qualifiers
- Luke Shaw has returned to the England squad for the first time in over two years
- Left-back last played for his country against Spain back in September 2018
- Shaw is likely to add to his eight England caps in World Cup qualifiers this month
- He featured for Man United as they beat AC Milan in the Europa League last-16
- And Shaw said afterwards it is a ‘massive honour’ to play for England again
Luke Shaw expressed his delight at returning to the England squad after over two years away, saying playing for your country is a ‘massive honour’.
The Manchester United left-back was rewarded for an excellent season when Gareth Southgate picked him for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.
Shaw, who has eight caps for England, hadn’t been selected by Southgate since the UEFA Nations League defeat by Spain at Wembley in September 2018.
Luke Shaw is delighted to return to the England squad after over two years without a call-up
The left-back performed well for Manchester United as they beat Milan in the Europa League
But now the 25-year-old has a great chance to press his claim for a spot in England’s Euro 2020 squad.
‘I’m extremely happy, it’s a massive honour to get selected for your country,’ Shaw told BT Sport after United’s 1-0 Europa League win over AC Milan.
‘I’ve been out of the fold for a while but I’ve always had ambitions to get back into the squad.
‘Now I’ve done that and I’m really looking forward to being there with the lads.’
Shaw’s England career has been a long but erratic one. Roy Hodgson first picked him as a teenager playing for Southampton back in 2014 and he went to that year’s World Cup in Brazil.
But injury troubles and patchy form meant appearances have been sporadic during the Southgate era.
Shaw last played for the Three Lions against Spain in the Nations League in September 2018
England manager Gareth Southgate has rewarded Shaw’s fine form with another call-up
Shaw, though, has impressed for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side and will now report for England duty on Monday after United play Leicester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.
The defender was honest enough to admit United had been ‘awful’ in the first half of Thursday’s second leg against Milan but Paul Pogba’s goal three minutes after the break guided them into the quarter-finals 2-1 on aggregate.
‘Obviously, we’re very happy we’re through,’ Shaw said. ‘I’ll be honest, and the lads and staff would agree, we weren’t good at all especially first half we were awful.
‘The first 10-15 minutes, we started well, kept control of the ball but it was like a switch – we turned off, kept giving away balls, bringing pressure on ourselves and we were lucky.
Shaw chases AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic during Thursday night’s San Siro contest
‘Second half it always helps to have a world class player like Paul (Pogba) to make a difference and he did that.
‘But we know we need to be better than tonight. Obviously AC Milan are a top side, we knew it would be hard especially coming here.
‘The result was in our favour. It’s a very good win and the positive is that we are through, we have players coming back and the squad looks better.
‘It’s good times now and hopefully we can push on it’s a very important one on the weekend.’
England international Shaw, 25, himself came in for praise before the game, with Owen Hargreaves now believing he has overtaken Liverpool counterpart Andy Robertson as the best left-back in England.
Hargreaves told BT Sport: ‘He’s earned the shirt, right now. He’s the best left-back in the country.
Owen Hargreaves claims Luke Shaw (left) has overtaken Andy Robertson (right) as the Premier League’s best left-back
The Man United left-back (right) is in a purple patch and scored against Man City this month
Hargreaves claims Shaw has stepped up to the plate amid United’s creativity issues up front
‘Last year it was Andy Robertson, now it’s Luke Shaw. If he’s fit and healthy, he’s one of the best he’s proved that.
‘It’s been Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes, rotating the player of the months roles.
‘He’s been magnificent. When Bruno Fernandes has had a quiet day, he (Shaw) has stepped up.
‘In the last six weeks he’s been fantastic. Luke on that left hand side has been fantastic in terms of creating more than anyone apart from Bruno Fernandes.’