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Robbie Savage: Luke Shaw is the only top six quality player at Old Trafford

by Darragh Fox
Luke Shaw

Robbie Savage has delivered a damning assessment of the current Manchester United squad by asserting Luke Shaw is the only player who would start for a top six rival.

Presenting on his BBC 606 show, Savage answered a question posed by a caller, who appeared as frustrated with United as the host following the team’s dismal loss to Newcastle on the weekend. 

Though Erik ten Hag’s men ‘only’ lost 1-0 to Eddie Howe’s side, it was a score line which flattered United, such was Newcastle’s dominance in the game.

They out-ran, out-fought and outplayed their United counterparts, who looked worlds away quality and desire wise.

United have endured far worse defeats on paper under Ten Hag, but this loss was as comprehensive as some of the maulings experienced last season. As demonstrated by the xG statistics below.

Compared to…

The collective feeling around the fanbase is one of growing anger at factions within a dressing room, who appear to be sharpening their knives as a vicious blame game begins.

“The problem is we keep defending these players, do any of these players right now make any of the top six right now?” the caller inquired of Savage. “You have to look at your competition,” they concluded.

Savage replied in a forlorn manner: “No, no the only one I’d say does is Luke Shaw, Luke Shaw.”

Shaw was a rare bright spot on Saturday, despite playing out of position at centre-back. Though the England defender gave the ball away, which ultimately led to Newcastle’s goal, there were myriad mistakes after this moment which were equally culpable.

Shaw’s performance was a generally positive one.

Alongside Harry Maguire, the pair were able to consistently repel Newcastle’s attacks, with little help from the players further forward. Unlike Maguire, however, Shaw was technically strong and brave enough to attempt to play out from the back.

As demonstrated in the video below, while Maguire defended well off the ball, his refusal to engage tactically when United were on the ball, helped contribute to Newcastle’s dominance.

This critique was not true on the other side of United’s defence. Which is why Savage was correct to identify Shaw as the sole representative from the United team on Saturday who would make it into the Newcastle, or any other top six contender’s team at present.

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