Luke Shaw and Jose Mourinho had a strained relationship when both at Manchester United
Credit: GETTY IMAGES
Luke Shaw has hit back at criticism from Jose Mourinho by claiming his former manager at Manchester United has a “personal agenda” against him.
Mourinho described Shaw’s delivery from corners as “very poor” and “dramatically bad” following England’s victory over Czech Republic in the European Championships, having also said that he would pick Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell ahead of the 25-year-old.
Shaw was criticised on numerous occasions by Mourinho when they worked together at United for two-and-a-half years, and the full-back admits that even his England team-mates have been asking why the Portuguese continues to single him out for attacks in the media.
But as he prepares for England’s last-16 clash against Germany at Wembley on Tuesday night, Shaw insisted he was always confident he could outlast the 58-year-old, who he said pointedly “was a brilliant manager.”
“He continuously talks about me, which I find quite strange,” said Shaw. “Even some of the lads have said ‘what’s his problem?’ and ‘why does he keep talking?’ He just needs to move on. Hopefully, he can find his peace with that and finally move and stop worrying about me. Clearly I am in his head a lot and he clearly thinks about me a lot.
“I don’t really understand it, to be honest. I don’t know why he is still going on and wanting to point at me. I don’t feel like the set-pieces were as bad as he was saying.
“I might have done one in the second half, a corner that didn’t get over the first man. But that was one out of three. The other two or three, I don’t think were as ‘dramatically bad’ as he says. Look, he has got to do his job. He has got his opinion. I am used to him saying negative stuff about me now, so I just pass it by. I leave it be, I ignore it. I just focus on what the coaching staff say here, what Gareth (Southgate) says and that’s that, really.”
Now manager of Roma after being sacked by Tottenham Hotspur, Mourinho is working as a pundit during the European Championships and Shaw added: “His job is to comment on what he feels is right. His voice is obviously very big. He likes to talk a lot about me, as everyone has seen recently. But his voice is his own. He can say what he wants. I will focus on myself.
“It’s different with different players. He likes some, he doesn’t like others. I think I fell into the category where he didn’t like me. I tried as hard as I could to get back on his side but it never worked out, no matter what I did. There is no hiding that we didn’t get on. I think he was a brilliant manager but, you know, the past is the past. It is time to move on. I am trying to move on, but, obviously, he can’t.”
Gareth Southgate urges England players to write their own history
Shaw suffered a double leg break for United before Mourinho took over from Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford and he grew used to becoming the target of criticism from the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’.
“I don’t think any of you realise the two or three years I had with him and how bad it was then, what it was like then,” said Shaw. “What he says now is nothing compared to how it used to be. I am being totally honest. I am so past it now. I have grown up a lot. The three years I had with him, I learnt a lot. I find it easy to ignore him now and even laugh about it. But it’s better just to ignore it.
“I think it can have an effect but the way he was with me, that was him and he had his personal agenda. But I think everyone I had around me at the club was fully with me 100 per cent, so whatever went on between me and him was our own thing.
“But around the club with the chairman and everything like that, they all supported me fully. So I felt the backing from the club, but not the manager at that point, but I knew I would be able to outlast him and I have, and I can just focus on getting better and improving.”
Shaw has insisted that he and his England team-mates are looking to “create our own story” as they attempt to lay the nation’s ghosts of the past against Germany to rest and progress in what looks to be the better side of the draw in the knockout phase of the European Championships.
“Of course what’s happened in the past is the past, but us as players, as a whole team, want to create our own story and you know what a perfect way to start that by, hopefully, beating Germany on Tuesday and setting a tone for the rest of the tournament,” said Shaw.
Asked about the chance to go all the way if England can get past Germany, Shaw added: “I think, of course, the opportunity is massive but I think every team or every game in this competition is going to be very hard.
“But we just need to take it game-by-game. We’ve got to try and ignore the fact of what’s coming up in the next round because this game is massive and there’s no denying that Germany are a quality team. We need to be at our absolute best to be able to beat them.”