Manchester United’s Luke Shaw is on the verge of a comeback from injury, with the possibility of being deployed in an unconventional role, a move reminiscent of his standout performances last season.

Luke Shaw, famously dubbed by Jose Mourinho as using “his body with my brain,” faced criticism in 2017 for his commitment and focus. Mourinho’s dissatisfaction escalated, leading to Shaw’s exclusion from the squad against West Brom.

Despite a career-threatening leg injury in 2015, Shaw has showcased his resilience, reaching the pinnacle of his career in the 2020/21 season, earning recognition as one of the best left-backs globally. Even during a slight dip in form the following season, Shaw excelled under Erik ten Hag.

An unexpected shift to center-back in December, filling in for the absent Lisandro Martinez, demonstrated Shaw’s adaptability and football intelligence. Mourinho’s earlier accusation of Shaw lacking positional understanding now seems unfounded.

Shaw’s impressive performances in over 10 games at center-back last season highlight his versatility. His successful stint included key matches against Manchester City and Barcelona, showcasing his ability to thrive in the role.

Ten Hag, known for preferring a left-footed player in the left-sided center-back position, sees Shaw as a valuable option. Despite the signings of Martinez and Jonny Evans for this role, Shaw’s exceptional performances suggest he could reclaim this position upon his return from injury.

Currently sidelined since August due to an injury against Tottenham, Shaw’s imminent return raises hopes for United. Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, and Sofyan Amrabat have deputized at left-back, emphasizing Shaw’s absence. However, Ten Hag might deploy Shaw in the center-back position upon his return, given the shortage of left-sided defenders.

With Martinez and Evans dealing with injuries, Lindelof and Maguire recently formed the defensive partnership. Although Lindelof started on the left and scored the decisive goal against Luton, Shaw’s proficiency in that position could prompt a reshuffle when he returns.

Shaw, a close friend of Maguire, has experience playing together in a three-man defense for England. However, their partnership as a center-back duo for United remains untested and could materialize when facing Everton.

Shaw’s resurgence has silenced critics, and his return, potentially in a new role, promises a significant boost for Manchester United.

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