Ten Hag urged to ditch ‘poor’ Man Utd player despite recent resurgence, as pundit launches scathing attack

·4-min read
Man Utd trio Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes Credit: Alamy
Man Utd trio Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes Credit: Alamy

A former England international has hit out at a Manchester United star following his most recent performance, even though he has looked much better under Erik ten Hag this season.

Ten Hag has done a brilliant job at Man Utd so far, having helped the Red Devils win their first piece of silverware since 2017. They beat Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley to lift the trophy earlier this season.

Man Utd remain in the Europa League and FA Cup, so there is a chance they could make it a cup treble. Plus, they look set to qualify for next season’s Champions League as they occupy third spot in the Premier League.

Ten Hag has received praise for his transfer policy, with the likes of Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez transforming the team. He has also reinvigorated the relationship between the players and fans, as it had looked dire before.

Surprisingly, the Dutch coach has managed to get the best out of some of Man Utd’s existing crop of expensive stars. Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Jadon Sancho and Fred have all shown signs of improvement at different parts of the season under him.

Shaw in particular has established himself as a regular in the starting lineup. He has made 35 appearances in all competitions so far this term, notching one goal and six assists.

READ MORE: Huge Man Utd lift as Barcelona star’s price tag takes nosedive and more than halves to give Ten Hag prime opportunity

The left-back started for England against Italy on Thursday night. England won the match 2-1 thanks to goals from Declan Rice and Harry Kane. But it was a night to forget for Shaw as he was sent for two yellow cards in the space of just a few minutes.

Carlton Palmer, who won 18 caps for England in the early 1990s, has hit out at Shaw for his performance against Italy. Surprisingly, he has also criticised the 27-year-old’s displays for Man Utd, even though he has enjoyed one of the best campaigns of his career.

Pundit ‘doesn’t know how Shaw gets away with it’

“I don’t know how Shaw gets away with it, I really don’t,” Palmer said on talkSPORT.

“I think he’s a poor, poor defender. I think he’s had a decent season at United, but I think he’s a poor defender. Every time he comes up and has had asked the question about defending, he can’t, he fails.

“How he doesn’t get sent off more often, I don’t know. I hear all the arguments about Trent Alexander-Arnold and I see that he has some defensive frailties but I think he’s a terrific player and offers a lot going forward.”

talkSPORT presenter Jim White attempted to defend Shaw by stating Ten Hag ‘swears by him’. But Palmer was having none of it, and he even suggested Man Utd should land someone to replace Shaw for next season.

“No, Ten Hag hasn’t got any other alternatives at the moment,” the pundit declared.

“I think next season when they will be genuinely going to have a tilt at the title, I think they will have brought in another left-back.”

Palmer added: “I look at him, I don’t think he looks fit. First and foremost, he’s in the United side or England side to defend, and I look at him whenever he’s asked to defend…

“I mean it would upset me to be honest with you. If I’m not playing well [like Harry] Maguire, but if he’s being picked ahead of me at centre-back, I’d have gone and knocked on the door and I’d have been away.

“Full stop. I’m not bothered about my contract. If you’re picking Shaw at centre-back ahead of me, I’m gone.”

Ten Hag does have another left-back available to him, as Tyrell Malacia is in the squad. But he does not quite have enough experience to seriously challenge Shaw for his starting spot just yet.

It is understandable that Shaw has received criticism for his performance against Italy. He made two silly challenges in the space of just a few minutes and the referee was left with no alternative but to send him off.

However, there is good reason to suggest that Palmer’s criticism of Shaw’s Man Utd form is too harsh. After all, he has played an important role in their successful season and clearly has the backing of his manager.

Meanwhile, Man Utd are reportedly rivalling Juventus and Roma for the capture of a Serie A midfielder after scouting him ‘regularly’.

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