Bring on the semi finals! That’s the battle cry of England’s tyro left back Luke Shaw. For while his teammates are able to explore the amazing opportunities on offer to wealthy and healthy young men in a tropical paradise, poor Luke is trapped in his four star hotel room, too young to visit the fleshpots and dancehalls of Rio until his nineteenth birthday on July 12th.
And temptation is very present for this boyish young man. ‘Luuuuuuuuuke! Luuuuuuuuuuke!’, cry the siren voices of his adoring fanclub, teenage girls who call themselves ‘the Lukealikes’, echoing through the sultry Brazilian night. Meanwhile the dedicated young athlete can only wait in his room, reading tactical manuals or playing a sports simulation game, while near namesakes like Luka Modric, Lucas Moura and Romelu Lukaku enjoy what the topical night has to offer.
‘That kid is never eighteen,’ laughed local club doorman Fernando da Silva when shown a picture of the Southampton star, ‘Hey, that gringo Justin Bieber could take him, no. ?’