Luke Shaw has credited “competition” from Alex Telles with making him Manchester United’s go-to option at left-back, with the 25-year-old finding consistency in his game that has eluded him to this point.
Fitness problems have held the defender back at times, with a broken leg stunting his progress early on at Old Trafford.
Questions have been asked of his weight and commitment since then, with Jose Mourinho taking public aim at Shaw during his reign in Manchester.
The England international has shrugged off his critics to become a Player of the Year award winner for the Red Devils, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bringing the best out of him.
Solskjaer has been sticking with his tried and trusted, with left-backs needing to defend first and foremost, and faith is being rewarded by a former Southampton star performing at the peak of his powers.
Quizzed by MUTV on how he has reached this stage, Shaw said: “I feel really good, credit to Ole for that for believing in me and pushing me.
“Alex as well, we have a great relationship, he pushes me each day in training and we get on really well.
“It’s nice to have that competition, we pushed each other to get the best out of ourselves. It’s a positive way for both of us to look at it.”
Shaw’s value to the United cause was highlighted again during a crunch clash with Liverpool at Anfield, with the defending Premier League champions having to tinker with their plans on home soil.
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah swapped wings at one stage in the first half, with Jurgen Klopp aware that the Egyptian frontman was getting little change out of the Red Devils’ left-back.
Shaw eventually helped Solskjaer’s side to a clean sheet, with a 0-0 draw enough to keep them at the top of the table, and he is pleased to have played a leading role in keeping formidable foes at bay.
He added: “This is why you come to clubs like this, to play against the best players in massive games, you look forward to tests like this, they’re the best in the world in their best position, but we all defended really well and we need to keep doing that.”
United will be back in action on Wednesday when they take in a trip to Fulham.