Gareth Southgate should trust Chelsea defender Ben Chilwell over Luke Shaw to occupy England‘s left-back spot at Euro 2020, according to Jose Mourinho. The Manchester United man was predictably snubbed by his former manager despite enjoying a stellar campaign with the Red Devils.
Shaw scooped the club’s Players’ Player of the Year award after excelling on a regular basis as a vital member of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s back four.
He made 47 appearances in all competitions, chipping in with six assists and a goal in the form of a sweetly-struck finish against eventual Premier League champions Manchester City in March.
Although Shaw has emerged as one of United’s best players under Solskjaer, it has not been all plain sailing for the Southampton academy graduate during his time at Old Trafford.
He did not see eye-to-eye with Mourinho when the latter was in charge between 2016 and 2018, with the experienced Portuguese boss criticising the defender on a regular basis.
He famously claimed that he was ‘making every decision for’ Shaw after United played out a 1-1 draw with Everton back in 2017 and aimed digs at the 25-year-old’s physical condition on a number of other occasions.
When quizzed on England’s options at the back ahead of Euro 2020 on Friday, Mourinho made his feelings known once again by admitting that he would not hesitate to opt for Chilwell at left-back ahead of his former player.
“Left-back I would go with Chilwell, I wouldn’t think twice,” Mourinho told talkSPORT. “I know that he plays normally at Chelsea with five [in defence] but he is intelligent, he covers the space and the diagonals inside very well.
“He is dangerous in attack, he is good in the air, he is good at set-pieces, he can defend well the possible long build-up from Croatia in the first phase.”
The Roma boss was then asked to explain his choice in overlooking Shaw despite the United star’s impressive recent form.
“No, I think he has had a good season,” added Mourinho. “Clearly an evolution in terms of emotion and professionalism.
“But I think Chilwell has something more, especially with the ball, the way he thinks and how he is calm under pressure. I like Chilwell.”
It remains to be seen whether Southgate will hand Shaw a starting berth for England’s opening Group D meeting with Croatia on Sunday.
The United defender was seen training as part of a back three on Wednesday, with the Three Lions boss aiming to find a solution to his side’s injury woes.
Shaw’s club team-mate Harry Maguire, who has not played since the beginning of May, could miss out as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury but has recently returned to full training.
However, Southgate’s experimentation at the back appears to suggest that the United skipper could be forced to settle for a spot on the bench at best.
Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson is also a doubt for Sunday’s all-important clash despite the 30-year-old declaring himself fit earlier this week.
Southgate was handed yet another significant injury blow during England’s warm-up victory over Austria earlier this month, with Trent Alexander-Arnold hobbling off before he was ruled out of the Euros altogether with a thigh problem.