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Shaw opens up on long road back to England squad after leg break and struggles under Mourinho

2:06 am AEST 9/6/21
Luke Shaw Albania vs England 2022 World Cup qualifier
The Manchester United defender has reflected on his rocky journey ahead of the European Championships with the Three Lions

Luke Shaw was in a reflective mood upon meeting the media ahead of England's opening Euro 2020 match against Croatia.

Shaw became the world's most expensive teenager in 2014 when he moved to Manchester United from Southampton for £30 million.

After missing the 2018 World Cup amid struggles at Man Utd under Jose Mourinho, Shaw has made himself impossible to ignore for England manager Gareth Southgate, excelling under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford.

What was said?

"It's extremely special to be able to make the 26-man squad," Shaw told reporters from the training base. "If you look at this time last year, speaking about England, I wouldn't have been mentioned by anyone or by Gareth and at the start of the season, there was an aim to get back into the England squad.

"I was young and a bit naive [when I was called up in 2014]. And I think sometimes when I was in that situation I didn't realise how big it was, the fact that I was here at a tournament. Young lads, nowadays they just go with it and I think maybe I did at that time.

"Now to be a part of this squad, I'm a bit more mature and understand things a lot better now, so massive pride and so proud to be able to be in a 26-man squad going to represent England, that's the highest level you can get in my opinion in football and I'm just very grateful and massively looking forward to it."

Shaw broke his leg against PSV in 2015, and spoke about his long road back from that injury. 

"To be honest it was a very bad injury but the hospital, the way they dealt with me, I think I was quite lucky my family were there, my mum and dad. I had them right next to me as soon as I got to the hospital. A bit of family love always helps," he said.

"Since then, of course, I knew it was going to be a long journey to try and get back to my best but I always believed I would. At times people always doubted me but deep down I pushed myself and believed one day I would be able to show people I can get back to a high enough level.

"I want to keep going. I want to improve as a player and also as a person. When my mum and dad were there, to make them proud. The main aim is to try and help England win a tournament."

How are the Man Utd players doing ahead of the Euros?

Southgate gave five days off to Man Utd's players after they lost their Europa League final against Villarreal on May 26. That means that Shaw, Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire only joined the group ahead of their second and final warm-up game with Romania on Sunday.

Rashford captained his country for the first time and scored the only goal of the game to give England a 1-0 win at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium. With Maguire still out with an ankle injury, Shaw also started the match and is keen to end his season on a high after losing his last final.

"It was a massive low," he added on the Europa League defeat. "I think we progressed really well during the season but we weren't quite there at the end of it. Of course, there's always extra determination and motivation that that was the lowest of lows that could've happened for us this season.

"Luckily we've got a few weeks to put things right and hopefully go out on a high. That's out of the window now, you need to forget about it. This is a new tournament, a new focus and I need to be 100 per cent here and not think about anything else."

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