Who could replace Luke Shaw as Man United’s starting left-back for the rest of the season?

Yesterday, Manchester United were dealt a devastating injury blow, with Luke Shaw ruled out for the season. What next for the Old Trafford club?

Manchester United’s 2023/24 season has been defined by injuries. The proof is in the pudding. When everyone is fit, Erik ten Hag has certainly gotten a positive tune out of this group of players. Without several key men out there, it has been an entirely different story.

Luke Shaw undoubtedly falls into the first category. United play infinitely better football when he’s starting at left-back. It’s the experience, sheer skill and willingness to get up and down the field for 90 minutes. The Red Devils will not be able to call upon the Englishman for the rest of the season.

So, what now?

Well, United have options. I’ll be honest, none seem ideal, but that’s just the hand we’ve been dealt. Anyway, let’s get right into it.

I’ll start by stating the obvious. Letting Sergio Reguilon’s loan end early was never a wise idea, particularly when you’re relying on Shaw, who has always suffered injuries, and Tyrell Malacia who is yet to make a single appearance this season… I know hindsight is a wonderful thing, but the club have made a serious cock-up here. Alvaro Fernandez is another mistake. He’s away on loan when he should be playing meaningful minutes in Manchester right about now.

Diogo Dalot back at left-back?

It’s a possibility – but not immediately. Dalot is the only fit right-back at the club as things stand, so he’ll likely continue in that spot until Aaron Wan-Bissaka is back fit. The Englishman is still a few weeks away, though, so United may have to look elsewhere in the short-term.

Victor Lindelof…?

To me, this feels like the viable option for the next month or so. I know it’s hardly an attractive proposition given how poor Lindelof has looked at left-back in the second half of the last two games, but what else can you do?

Lindelof is an intelligent footballer. There’s no denying that. He just doesn’t have the pace nor energy to bomb up and down the wing all game long. That’s already evident.

Harry Amass a wildcard?

Born in 2007(!), Amass is a sixteen-year-old left-back who has bags of potential. The young man has already trained with the senior squad on a variety of occasions as he looks to continue his individual development.

However, making this jump up at such a tender age is a huge risk that has the potential to ruin Amass. It would be a gamble that could go either way, but I feel he’s just too inexperienced at this time. Maybe if this opportunity arose twelve months later down the line, we could be having a different conversation.

Tyrell Malacia to end the season with starts?

It’s tough to gauge Malacia’s situation. The club have been tight-lipped about his injury and I do not see that changing anytime soon. I wouldn’t expect to see the Dutchman until April at the earliest. He’s not even back in senior training yet and it’d take multiple weeks before he’d even be considered for serious minutes.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back before the end of the campaign, though the last thing United would want to do is bring another defender back too early.

For Ten Hag, this is a horrible situation. It could decide United’s top four fate, but there’s absolutely nothing he can do about it now. If there’s any shot at recalling Fernandez back from his SL Benfica loan that could help, but I doubt that’s a possibility. This probably means the Reds will dip into the left-back market in the summer in some capacity, as the club will not want to go through this again.

Who do you think will take the majority of minutes in the left-back position for the rest of the season? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.

About Jordan Street 19003 Articles
Mancunian. Red through and through. Season Ticket holder block E332.

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