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Man Utd defender: “It shocked me that I couldn’t get near him”

Luke Shaw has played 90 minutes in each of Manchester United’s last three Premier League games over Christmas, partly down to the number of injuries we have in defence.

This is also a compliment to Shaw’s fitness levels having only recently returned from a lengthy layoff over the summer and first half of the season.

Shaw played a key part in our 2-0 victory over Everton on New Year’s Day as we made it back-to-back clean sheets and three in the four Premier League games in which the England international has started this season.

Also playing on Monday, making his first Premier League appearance of the season, was defender Axel Tuanzebe.  The England under-21 was a late substitute to help us see out the clean sheet.

Tuanzebe made four starts in the league last season and was today interviewed on MUTV.  As part of the interview, he revealed how impressed he was by Luke Shaw during his first training session.  The 20-year-old said:

“You don’t forget the first time you train with the first team. It was me, Marcus Rashford and Devonte Redmond, and we went up to training. It was one of the hardest sessions I’ve had in my life.

“I was in the Under-18s at the time and Paul McGuinness was our manager. We thought we were coming along to watch but we ended up playing in a training game. We were a position team, the first team against us. It was so hard, it was so fast, it was physically on another level.

“I remember vividly that Luke Shaw was absolutely rapid. It shocked me that I couldn’t get near him. He was an absolute bullet, just amazing. From that moment, I had him as a benchmark for myself, in terms of how sharp he is. After that session, we had seen what we had to get to. Once we’d had a taste of it, then we all wanted more and more.”

Axel Tuanzebe certainly hasn’t looked back on his first training session as he has received rave reviews for his performances for the reserve teams and has been included in the matchday squad on a couple of occasions this season.

The youngster played the full 90 minutes in our 2-0 win over Swansea City in the EFL Cup earlier this season and played 18 minutes as a substitute versus CSKA Moscow in the Champions League group stage this season.  It’s possible he will feature against Derby County in the FA Cup on Friday night.