Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw suffered a devastating blow on Tuesday night as he underwent surgery for a broken leg sustained during the 2-1 defeat to PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League.
According to the Guardian, the 20-year-old is likely to require six months to make a full recovery, and it comes at an awful time for both the player and club as he seemed to be edging towards his best football.
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Reaction to Luke Shaw injury
PSV defender Hector Moreno was visibly shaken after seeing the results of his tackle, and was extremely apologetic to the England international after the game, as reported by the Guardian.
However, United boss Louis Van Gaal took an opposite view on the matter, slamming the tackle and insisting that it was a dangerous challenge to commit from the Mexican.
Regardless of whose opinion is right, the fact is that Shaw will now begin his rehabilitation and look to bounce back from what is undoubtedly a serious injury.
What makes the setback even more heartbreaking for the former Southampton player, is that he had started to display the level of football which initially attracted the attention of United.
Shaw endured a difficult first season at Old Trafford due to niggling injuries that not only sidelined him, but prevented him from gaining consistency in both his playing time and influence on the side.
However, after a successful pre-season in which he even drafted in a fitness coach to improve himself further, he had shown this year that he was a talent that United can rely upon for years to come.
His improvements both defensively and in terms of being a creative force down the left perfectly complimented what Matteo Darmian offered on the right, and it will be a struggle for Van Gaal to find the same balance with Shaw out of the team.
Naturally, after such a serious injury, it remains to be seen how he recovers and performs when he takes to the field again. The hope, of course, is that he can regain the form that he has displayed for both United and England over the last two months and solidify his place at left-back for club and country.
“Words can’t describe how gutted I am,” Shaw added on his official Twitter account. “My road to recovery starts now, I will come back stronger.”
Van Gaal and England manager Roy Hodgson will be buoyed by his positivity, and it was certainly reassuring for supporters to hear that he was in good spirits. But it is a long road back.