Luke Shaw reveals huge regret at snubbing England duty in previous seasons over injury fears… but Manchester United defender vows to take second chance ahead of Euro 2020
- Luke Shaw has vowed to seize his second chance with England national team
- Shaw played the full 90 minutes for the Three Lions against Albania on Sunday
- Due to injuries, Shaw wondered whether he would play for England again
Luke Shaw has vowed to seize his second chance with England, after fearing he had squandered his international career with some decisions he deeply regrets.
On the back of a superb season for Manchester United, Shaw played the full 90 minutes against Albania on Sunday. It was his ninth cap, but it came seven years and three weeks after he made his England debut.
Shaw has always been highly regarded by the FA but has a history of pulling out of squads with fitness issues. The tipping point came three seasons ago.
Luke Shaw has vowed to seize his second chance with England after earlier decisions
Shaw played the full 90 minutes for Gareth Southgate’s side against Albania on Sunday
First, he withdrew from Nations League games against Croatia and Spain in October 2018. He then pulled out of the March 2019 squads, for Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro, and that led to a two-year absence. During that time, Shaw wondered whether he would play for England again.
His family even said to him at one point that they felt his time had gone but Shaw refused to accept that the door was closed. He stayed in contact with Gareth Southgate and his persistence was rewarded when he was called up for these World Cup qualifiers. ‘I had a few massive regrets,’ said Shaw, 25, whose cross led to Harry Kane opening the scoring in Tirana.
‘I could not stop thinking about the mistakes that I had made in the past. With England, I pulled out of a lot of camps. Over the last two years, I have thought about it so much with regret.
‘Letting Gareth down… I tried to keep in touch with him, to let him know that things had changed. He said (this time) he had picked me on merit and the past was the past. Hopefully we have forgotten about that now and we can focus on the future. I want to keep impressing him.’
Shaw wondered whether he would play for England again after years of injury worries
Asked for specific examples of how he had let Southgate down, Shaw replied: ‘Pulling out of camps was the biggest. Maybe I wasn’t right mentally then. The last time I played was Spain (at Wembley in September 2018). I wasn’t playing for my club that much then but it showed he trusted me.
‘You watched the World Cup, you could see how good they were doing and you can see how good the squad is becoming. I wanted to get back involved with England — who wouldn’t? I’m just really privileged to get another chance. I want to stay in the squad for more games to come.’
It was heartening to see Shaw thrive on Sunday and the way in which he smiled when reflecting on the turn of events left you in no doubt of his emotions.
In a similar way to Manchester City’s John Stones, it seemed inevitable his excellent club form would be rewarded but he was not so certain.
The Man United star’s family even said to him at one point that they felt his time had gone
Reassurance came in a discreet conversation with United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. A week before Southgate unveiled his party for the games against San Marino, Albania and Poland, Solskjaer called Shaw to one side and trusted him with a secret.
‘Ole had spoken to Gareth, and I think Ole was really happy for me so he told me early,’ said Shaw.
‘I kept it very quiet, I only told my girlfriend. I wanted to wait until I got the text (from the FA) — then I could tell my mum and dad. I did really want to tell them but I had to wait. There were some important games coming up for United, so my focus was on that.’
He could have been forgiven had he told his parents, Paul and Joanna. They had questioned whether it was over for him with England during the time Shaw was looking in from the outside.
‘We had a few discussions and my family thought maybe I wouldn’t be able to get back in,’ Shaw said. ‘Deep down, I always believed I could. Thankfully Gareth has given me another chance. I just want to forget the mistakes and the past is the past. I hope I can impress him to stay in the squad.’