Luke Shaw has admitted he feared he was going to be ruled out of England’s Euro 2020 squad after an injury late in the Premier League season.
Ever since receiving his first call-up in 2014, the left-back has been in and out of the Three Lions squad for a combination of reasons.
But a superb season with Manchester United has brought him back into the fold, something he said he ‘missed a lot.’
“At the start of this season I sat down with my girlfriend and had a talk about the coming season and what my realistic targets were,” Shaw told talkSPORT.
“The club is the most important thing during the season but one of my main targets was trying to get back into the England fold. It wasn’t whether I play or not it was just to be involved in the squad again. I really missed that during the time I was out of the squad. I’ve missed it a lot.
“I really realise how big the honour is to represent your country at such a major tournament, it’s brilliant.
“I’m privileged to be here. If the tournament went ahead when it was supposed to [last year], I don’t think I’d have been in that squad to be honest.
“At that time I wasn’t playing much, maybe my level of performance wasn’t what it has been recently. I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing, enjoying it and helping my country.”
Shaw was a shoo-in for the squad with the 25-year-old making the 2020/21 PFA Team of the Year but at one point he thought an injury would prevent him from achieving the target he set 12 months ago.
He revealed he ruptured ligaments in his wrist, which why he’s been sporting a bandage in recent weeks, and admitted there was a nervous wait after having the MRI scan.
He said: “At one point I was because when I was getting treatment at the club I had the MRI scan and whatnot.
“The doc looked at it but couldn’t really see where the main ligament was. He had to send it to a specialist which worried me because I thought ‘what if it’s the bad one? I might need an operation…’
“I was a little bit panicky but the next day I got the results and it wasn’t as bad as they thought.”
Kieran Trippier started at left-back ahead of Shaw and Chelsea star Ben Chilwell, which raised some eyebrows ahead of the Croatia win.
But while Shaw was disappointed not to get the nod he says he is going to do all he can to help the team, whether he starts or not.
He added: “Of course everyone’s thoughts, not just mine, when they’re not playing in a game that everyone wants to play in is obviously disappointed.
“But even if you’re not playing you’ve got a role to play in the team to train well, get the lads ready for a big game and I’ll do whatever’s necessary to play my part.
“Gareth’s got 11 players to pick from. All I can do is train well, train hard and see what Gareth does for the next game. All I can do is keep smiling, keep enjoying it and do whatever I can to help the team playing or not.”
The mentality he has now shows his maturity
One of Shaw’s first roles as an England player was representing them at the 2014 World Cup, where he was the youngest player in the squad aged 19.
The youngest player this time is Jude Bellingham, who made European Championship history when he came on during the win over Croatia last weekend.
And despite being the baby of the group, Shaw confirmed that the Borussia Dortmund midfielder is wise beyond his years.
He said: “It’s unbelievable that he’s only 17. We all say it in training and in the hotel we can’t believe that he’s 17. He’s clearly a man already.
“He’s not just talented, the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch – he’s very mature for his age. It’s honestly frightening that he’s 17.
“Even when he came on against Croatia, at that age to be trusted to come on at that important time of the game clearly shows how much Gareth thinks of him.”
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