Manchester United threw away a two-goal lead against Aston Villa on July 23 to conclude their tour of Australia and lose their 100% pre-season record. The club’s fans were understandably disappointed and the focus of their brunt was left-back Luke Shaw.
The Red Devils went into the break two up thanks to an excellent strike from Jadon Sancho and an own goal from Matty Cash.
Erik ten Hag once again made a flurry of half-time changes.
Villa pulled one back just after the interval thanks to a stunning solo effort from Leon Bailey. Then, some poor marking from a corner allowed Calum Chambers to score a header in injury time. It was enough to ensure that Ten Hag failed to win for the first time as Manchester United manager.
United fans were extremely unimpressed with their side’s defending. They allowed Villa winger Bailey to run unchallenged from the halfway line before the Jamacian slotted home from outside the area.
Bailey attacked the right-hand side where Shaw should have been covering. However, the 27-year-old was caught napping while his team were on the attack and failed to get near the flying winger.
With the arrival of Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia and current left-back Alex Telles, Shaw already faces plenty of competition this season. He did no favors to himself after his performance against Aston Villa.
Following the draw in Perth, Manchester United supporters took to Twitter to criticize the England defender’s performance:
Former Manchester United star believes extra competition for places will help underfire defender
Despite Shaw going missing for Villa’s first goal at the Optus Stadium, he did assist Sancho with a pinpoint cross to open the game’s scoring.
Former Manchester United winger Ben Thornley was on commentary duties for the encounter. He seemed impressed with Shaw’s first-half display before the defender’s dreadful defending in the second period.
Thorney told MUTV that he thinks the extra competition at left-back will help Shaw’s performances, as he stated:
“It’s definitely healthy for the squad. You need to have competition, especially at the level where Manchester United want to be playing at, and where we are trying to get to.”
“You need good players in all positions as it helps to spur you on. You know, if you’re underperforming, then there’s a good chance you could be out of the team. He did it before, Luke Shaw, when Alex Telles came in, and is showing signs of it again at the moment.”
He then praised Shaw for his role in the first goal and went on to claim that he’ll make the England squad for the World Cup later this year. He said:
“It was a really, really good overlap and a lovely ball to the back post. It’s what he’s become synonymous with and why, if he continues in this vein, he’ll definitely be in the England squad for the World Cup.”
The Red Devils concluded their Australian tour of the pre-season against Aston Villa. They will now take on Atletico Madrid at the Ullevaal Stadion in Norway on July 30.