England star Harry Maguire says mentality shift key to Luke Shaw’s transformation for club and country

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·4-min read
England star Harry Maguire says mentality shift key to Luke Shaw’s transformation for club and country
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 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Harry Maguire has revealed he “demands a lot” from England and Manchester United team-mate Luke Shaw but says the full-back’s transformation is down to the pressure he puts on himself.

After an excellent season for United, the rest of the country is now witnessing Shaw’s revival as a top-class player, with the 25-year-old one of the standout performers on England’s run to the semi-finals of Euro 2020.

Shaw had a hand in both of England’s goals in the historic last-16 win over Germany and got two more assists in a near-faultless display in the 4-0 win over Ukraine on Saturday.

Maguire says a shift in Shaw’s mentality is behind his form but admitted he piles the pressure on his club-mate to express himself.

“First and foremost his ability has always been there,” Maguire said.

“He has great ability, he has every attribute to be one of the best left-backs in the world.

“I would probably say the main difference I feel within Luke is his mentality, in terms of pushing himself.

“It’s really the demands he is putting on himself now to not just be a six out of ten in every game, not to play comfortably, [but] to go and push on and be himself and push himself to be the best player on the pitch because there’s no reason why he can’t do that with all the attributes and ability that he has.”

Maguire is one of the most vocal members of the United and England squad on the pitch and typically plays for both as the left-sided centre-half, next to Shaw.

“I have a great relationship with Luke on and off the field. I do put a lot of demands on him,” Maguire continued.

“I don’t accept him playing alongside me and playing safe and not getting forward because for Manchester United you’ve seen that he is a big attacking threat.

“When he’s flying up and down and creating chances, it gives us the best opportunity to win football matches and that’s the most important thing.

Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw are team-mates with both Manchester United and England (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw are team-mates with both Manchester United and England (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“I really expect him to push himself because I know and see every day what he has got.

“I see his attributes and his ability and he has absolutely everything to be an amazing left-back. He is really showing that now.

“He has shown the Premier League all year what he brings to Manchester United and now he is showing the world. I am so pleased for him. I hope he keeps going, keeps improving and keeps pushing himself. And I am sure he will.

“I put demands on myself [too],” Maguire added.

“Luke probably gets a little bit more of it than everybody else because he is stood alongside me for 90 minutes. If Luke is playing well, I am playing well because we are so close to each other and covering each other. It is the same with my other centre-half partners.

“I think it is working well at the moment for both club and country. We have a good relationship and we can get better and improve – and we are striving to do that.”

Maguire, who scored England’s second goal against Ukraine at the Stadio Olimpico, is one of the veterans of England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals in Russia.

England face Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday in a first European Championship semi-final since 1996 and Maguire says the squad has more belief now than ahead of the defeat to Croatia in Moscow three years ago.

“We’ll probably have a little bit more belief going into the Denmark game than what we did in the Croatia game,” he said.

“We hadn’t been to a semi-final in so long as a country, so the belief wasn’t there.

“I’m sure the fans are believing more now. As players of course and staff and everyone involved in the bubble, we’re all believing as well and we have great belief.

“We’ve got to focus on ourselves, we’ve got a focus on our performance, we can’t look after the result.

“Football’s decided on big moments and one thing that we can do is make sure that come that semi-final, we perform to the best of our ability and we give everything.”

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