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Shaw: “I didn’t know how big United were until I signed”

Luke-Shaw-Man-UtdLuke Shaw has admitted he hadn’t grasped the size of Manchester United until he signed for the club last summer and insisted his meteoric rise from Southampton to United via the England World Cup squad will not distract him.

“You don’t actually know how big it is until you sign for it – around the whole world, the fan base and everything,” Shaw said in an interview with the Guardian, in which he discussed his rise from promising teenager to England international within the last 18 months.

“The teams we played as well – it was sort of weird playing the likes of Real Madrid and Inter and still being 18, it was very nice to be playing against [Cristiano] Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. That tour helped me a lot.”

The left-back was criticised by Louis Van Gaal during the pre-season tour for a lack of fitness and he was then summoned by the United manager for face-to-face talks.

“I wanted to clear the air,” he says.

“Maybe some people took it the wrong way – I think he was trying to help me out and it’s all over now, that was in pre-season and everything’s fine.”

Having struggled with injuries for the first part of the season, Shaw is now aiming to establish himself as the first choice left wing-back in Van Gaal’s squad. The Dutchman’s 3-5-2 system has attracted criticism but Shaw claimed that adapting to a new formation could help his career and that he’s determined to sharpen his attacking instincts.

“At Southampton we played with high full-backs, you could say that’s wing-back but not particularly, no,” Shaw said when asked if he had covered the role before.

“I’m always learning, especially with the different formations it will help me in the long run to maybe become a forward player – on the wing or something.”

Shaw was one of the standout performers for Southampton last season but he’s yet to reproduce that sort of form for United and the jury remains out on whether he’s really worth £30m. The England international, however, insisted he isn’t fazed by his price-tag.

“I’m a player coming intoManchester United, I’ve got to adapt like every other, no matter how old I am,” he said.

“If I was 28 or 19, it doesn’t matter – you’ve got to be able to come in here and play the way the manager wants and that’s it. My family brought me up very well. I’m not one to boast, I’m more relaxed and focused on what I need to do.”