‘I didn’t want him at left-back’ – Erik ten Hag explains why Luke Shaw started at centre-half against Newcastle United
Posted by  badge Boss on Dec 03, 2023 - 01:30PM
Shaw partned Maguire at centre-half on Saturday night (Picture: Getty)

has explained his decision to start at centre-half against was ‘tactical’ with the full-back’s recent return from injury also a factor.

with the visitors turning in an insipid display in the north east.

Shaw, who had been sidelined with a muscle injury, started his first game since August last Sunday at , playing 76 minutes at Goodison Park before completing the full game midweek against Galatasaray in the Champions League.

He started his third game in seven days on Saturday night, shifted inside to partner Harry Maguire at centre-half, selected ahead of both Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof who were unused substitutes.

Shaw has played as a centre-half in the past and impressed in a central role when moved inside by ten Hag last season.

Quizzed on his set-up in his post-match press conference, ten Hag explained he was eager to utilise both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot, with each man rested and coming off the bench against Everton and Galatasaray respectively.

The Dutchman also had one eye on Shaw’s fitness having missed over two months of action with a frantic fixture schedule over the festive period coming up.

Ten Hag explained his decision-making in his post-match press conference (Picture: Getty)

‘Because it was tactical, we wanted to create full backs with a lot of overlaps and underlaps in attacking [positions],’ ten Hag said.

‘That was the idea, to have fresh full-backs. Aaron played one game and not a whole game. Diogo played in Everton and came on in Istanbul.

‘Luke Shaw is returning from an injury and I didn’t want him to play as a full-back. It was the idea to play him at centre-back and I think they did it very well, Harry and Luke Shaw together.

‘It was clearly the idea to get him in that left centre-half position to construct opportunities that Diogo can go higher.’

United now face three home games on the bounce against Chelsea and Bournemouth next week in the Premier League.

They then host Bayern Munich in their final Champions League group game, with ten Hag’s side needing a win and for other results to go their way to stand a chance of reaching the last 16.

.  and .