Luke Shaw’s agent Jonathan Barnett took a moment to get one back, as Jose Mourinho never shied away from an opportunity to take public shots at the best left-back in England.
Of course, Shaw wasn’t the best left-back in England under Jose Mourinho. We are starting to see his true ability now under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But under Mourinho, Shaw was much younger. He had also only recovered from a serious leg break.
What he needed was an arm around the shoulder. I mean, why wouldn’t a manager do all he can to get the best out of a player?
Mourinho was too concerned about his own reputation, which began to crumble at Real Madrid. He had a brief successful period at Chelsea afterwards before ultimately crumbling again. (I wonder if he will still consider a runners-up finish behind City as one of his best achievements if Solskjaer manages the same this season?)
Barnett told The Athletic (£) about the work his team did, at Stellar Group, to boost Shaw’s confidence after the damage caused by Mourinho.
“My job in that situation is to make sure the player’s spirits are kept up. We try behind the scenes to help them understand what’s gone wrong. A lot of it is personal. We had to rebuild his (Shaw’s) confidence, which we did. We took certain steps. But Luke is a very strong man. He never got too down.
“His family had to be there for him and we had to be there for him. We didn’t say, ‘You’ve got to leave Man United, we’ve got to go because we need to make money’. We didn’t force Luke Shaw out of Man United. He wanted to stay there. And that’s what he’s done. And today, he’s a great, great player.
“My company, for example, has two analysts who are considered to be some of the best in the world and have worked for some of the biggest football clubs in the world. We took them away (from those clubs) to work for us. Then we sit down with somebody like Luke Shaw and analyse his game for him, like a club would. This is a personal thing that we do for our players. We show him what he’s doing wrong or what he’s doing right.”
The agent said that he felt a lot of it was “personal”, which must have been unsettling for those involved because it’s hard to turn your back on Manchester United. At most other clubs that would be enough to force a player’s hand into leaving for pastures new.
Thankfully the damage done by Mourinho didn’t push Shaw away and we now have a manager who has always shown huge belief in the player.