Footballers have to overcome varying degrees of hardship all the time.
Most of them don’t get anywhere near enough recognition simply because of who they are and what they stand for.
But Luke Shaw’s case is a little different.
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We’re talking about a player who, after deservedly earning his first England call up in 18 months, has candidly opened up about how close he was to losing his leg after that horrific break back in 2015.
In truth that call up was a non-entity, playing only seven minutes as a substitute in a friendly against Germany.
So this time will feel for real as a tangible vindication of his excellent recent form that was also rewarded with Man United’s Player of the Month award for August.
Cast your minds back to October 2015.
Shaw was then the most expensive teenager on the planet and had seamlessly settled into a life at Old Trafford.
A Champions League tie with PSV was meant to provide the perfect platform for him to illustrate his reputation has one of the best left backs in the world, but it would, of course, end in a nightmare.
A crunching Hector Moreno challenge later and Shaw’s right leg was in bits, broken in two places with blood clots that nearly caused an amputation.
“I was really close to losing my leg. I didn’t know that until six months later when the doctor told me,” he told the press after joining up for England duty this week.
“At the time they, were thinking about flying me back. If I’d flown back, I probably would have lost my leg because of the blood clots in the leg.”
That’s how close he came to never kicking a football again.
Shaw was reportedly in a buoyant mood, acknowledging the ‘good vibe’ that remains in the England camp after their World Cup exploits.
He’s come a long way from that fateful night in Holland, the demons of which are understandably still prevalent.
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He added: “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes think about stopping playing football, but I had a lot of good people around me, friends and family, who helped me through it.
“It was very tough at times. It went on for a long period, doing the same things every day.
“I couldn’t do anything else because of the break. It was frustrating but I came out the other side.”
But it isn’t just a potentially life-changing injury that Shaw has been forced to vanquish.
Jose Mourinho has always adopted an unorthodox man-management style, but his treatment of Shaw has been so extreme that bullying accusations have been thrown around.
From ‘fat shaming’ to taking credit for the left-back’s performances – in 2017 the Man United boss said “it was his body with my brain” – Mourinho’s fixation with Shaw has been relentless.
Weaker personalities would have shied away – look at Anthony Martial’s current predicament – seeking a fresh start in the face of such bizarre coaching.
But Shaw is back where he belongs; as United’s first choice left back and part of a vibrant England setup seeking the key to world domination.
There will always be a sense of what if, but even a sickening injury and a dark overlord for a manager couldn’t prevent his renaissance.
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