Jose Mourinho believes there are few left-backs in the world better than Luke Shaw on current form.
Shaw’s career at Manchester United appeared in jeopardy last year after Mourinho questioned his commitment, focus, ambition and football brain.
But Mourinho admitted he had been impressed by the dramatic turnaround in the England defender, who has started eight of United’s past 11 games.
Ashley Young is available to face Burnley at Turf Moor after completing a three-match suspension for elbowing Southampton’s Dusan Tadic but Shaw is likely to keep his place.
“He’s played very well,” Mourinho said. “He was already improving and playing well when I start playing him after that long spell without minutes. I remember the first time, in the Champions League [against CSKA Moscow], he was coming step by step.
“And now with a good run of matches and continuity also, playing like he did against Everton two days after a previous match – he’s been good, solid, physically much better, mentally much stronger, tactically understanding the game much better and what we need in different phases and circumstances.
“I’m really happy. You like the transfer market. I can say that in this moment I don't see many left-backs better than this Luke Shaw.”
Mourinho had been keen to sign a new first-choice left-back this year, but those plans appear to have been shelved for now with the Portuguese pleased with the strides Shaw is making.
Shaw claimed this week that he feels in the best shape of his career and rejuvenated under Mourinho and said he was hoping to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup plans.
“A bad injury like I had always stays with you a little bit afterwards but it’s in the past and I feel really good and really fit and my leg feels perfect,” Shaw said. “Body-wise and fitness-wise I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt. Mentally I feel strong as well and I’m enjoying my football. It’s now about pushing on and helping the team.
“I’m really determined for the second half of the season. There are so many games coming up. There is a lot to play for with the World Cup as well. A lot of players want to impress their national managers and, personally, I want to play as many games as possible to help United. If I can then hopefully I will state my case to go to the World Cup. I had a taste of it in Brazil [in 2014] and it was amazing.
“I can’t wait for the Champions League to start again too. I broke my leg in my first Champions League game [against PSV Eindhoven] so it’s a competition I’m determined to help the team do well in.”
Asked about Mourinho’s recent praise, Shaw added: “It’s really nice to hear. The manager has been really good with me and has given me extra confidence.
“He’s just told me to go out and enjoy the games and that is what I’ve been doing. I’m just focussed on working really hard for the manager, and for the team, because I want to keep on playing and hopefully more games will come.”