Luke Shaw will never take the opportunity to represent England for granted again, as the rejuvenated Manchester United left-back looks to seize his place in this summer’s rearranged Euros.
When the then-18-year-old pipped long-serving Ashley Cole to a spot in the 2014 World Cup, he was the youngest player to appear in the competition.
Shaw became the world’s most expensive teenager when he joined Manchester United from Southampton that autumn, but injuries and a strained partnership with former manager Jose Mourinho contributed to a turbulent period at Old Trafford.
Such problems limited his England availability, but the left-back acknowledged he should have done better after earning his ninth cap – and first in 932 days – against Albania on Sunday.
“I have a few big regrets, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the mistakes I made in the past, especially with England,” the United left-back admitted.
“I walked away from several of the camps. I wasn’t in the best of health at the moment, but I guess for the past two years I’ve talked about it too often – it was my only regret. And, of course, failing Gareth (Southgate). I attempted to stay in contact with him to mind him that things had improved. He confirmed that he selected me based on merit and how I’ve been doing. The past is the past, and hopefully, we should forget about it now and concentrate on the future, and I want to continue impressing him.”
Shaw kept returning to regret while discussing his patchy international record, feeling bad about the way he pulled out as well.
Southgate has long admired Shaw, who he included in his first squad as England Under-21s manager in 2013 and is tipped to be the country’s best left-back in the autumn after being overlooked.
Naturally, there were some talks with his family over the possibility that his international opportunities had gone, but the left-back never gave up and was overjoyed to inform his parents of his recall last Thursday.