Erik ten Hag hailed Luke Shaw’s ‘fantastic’ performance at centre-back in Manchester United’s wins over Nottingham Forest and Wolves.
The Dutchman was forced to change United’s defense on his return: Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof fell ill, and Lisandro Martinez is still recovering from Argentina’s World Cup victory.
Casemiro came on as a centre-back in the EFL Cup win over Burnley, while Shaw played alongside Raphael Varane in central defense in the Premier League games against Forest and Wolves.
Ten Hag’s decision was justified by United’s back-to-back record of clean sheets and the England full-back could continue to play an unfamiliar role during a visit to Bournemouth on Tuesday.
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Explaining his thoughts, the manager said of Shaw: “We saw the last two games. I think he did a great job and made an impression. We also know that he’s really good as a left wing back, but that’s an added option and [that] always good for the team.
“Of course, you have your own ideas and plan, but sometimes it changes depending on the circumstances, such as Harry’s illness. [Maguire] and from Victor [Lindelof].
“Usually they should have started in the matches we just played but then Casemiro did well as a centre-back, Luke Shaw played very well against Forest and you also look at the game plan how we should approach it.” Wolverhampton.”
“And I thought it was the best match with Rafa and Luke. Especially in defense, we know the speed of the wolves on the right.
“[Shaw] could cover it because we want to attack down the left flank with Tyrell Malasia’s attacking play, so that was good. Also, when you have the ball, you always – with your left foot – get the best angles on the pitch.”
Ten Hag also revealed that Martinez and Scott McTominay could return for the hosts for the first of four consecutive matches at Old Trafford, while Diogo Dalot could also be in contention.
“We need to see,” he added. “Both [Martinez and McTominay] trained yesterday and today, so I’m quite optimistic about [them] returning to the squad, both of them.
“Diogo Dalot is also making good progress but we don’t want to risk anyone because we know there are many games ahead and we need a full roster to cover all the games.”