Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag will likely be keeping a close eye on his star men who are currently featuring for their countries at the ongoing World Cup, with the Red Devils’ England contingent having been particularly impressive in the competition thus far.
Having started the campaign strongly at club level with 11 goals and assists in just 19 games, academy graduate Marcus Rashford has translated that sparkling form onto the international stage, having netted three times in the tournament already, while club captain Harry Maguire has also been “excellent“, in the words of journalist Samuel Luckhurst.
The 29-year-old has endured a tough spell back at Old Trafford of late after falling out of favour in recent months – making just three Premier League starts this season – although has typically thrived under Gareth Southgate’s care.
The former Leicester City man has been part of a Three Lions side that has kept three clean sheets from their opening four games in Qatar, while also winning an impressive 77% of his aerial duels as a sign of his defensive dominance.
The resurgent centre-back is not the only United defender to be impressing for Southgate’s side, however, with teammate Luke Shaw having also proven integral to his nation’s surge to the quarter-final stage.
Having reclaimed his place back at the Theatre of Dreams ahead of summer signing Tyrell Malacia after starting the last seven league games, the 27-year-old has continued that rich vein of form in recent weeks, notably registering an assist in the opening group stage triumph over Iran.
That dinked cross to find emerging hero Jude Bellingham for England’s first goal of the tournament set the tone for the impressive performances that have followed for the left-back, with Shaw proving his worth after having missed out on selection four years ago.
The Euro 2020 star – who scored once and laid on three assists in that competition 18 months ago – has nailed down his place as the leading figure on the left of the defence, having started all four games in Qatar thus far.
While there has been a distinct lack of competition due to the injury absence of main positional rival, Ben Chilwell, the former Southampton ace has shown no signs of complacency thus far, notably creating six chances from his defensive berth.
Although the £150k-per-week man has lost possession on 55 occasions across all four outings, that has seemingly been a marker of his attacking intent, with the 27-cap sensation having also averaged 1.8 key passes per game and has achieved 100% successful dribbles.
The Kingston-born ace – whose average match rating at the tournament has been a solid 7.15, as per Sofascore – has notably been lauded for such form by journalist Alex Richards, who stated after the recent triumph over Senegal:
“Luke Shaw is quietly having an outstanding World Cup. Barely put a foot wrong defensively & so important to how the side progress the ball into dangerous areas.”
Such glowing praise will likely be music to the ears of those back in Manchester, with Ten Hag no doubt set to love seeing Shaw continuing to build up his confidence and momentum with a string of standout displays.
It can seemingly only be a positive for United heading into the second half of the season.