Erik ten Hag is impressed with Luke Shaw’s stand-in performances at centre-back, with the Dutchman delighted for Manchester United to have extra options ahead of their Premier League clash with Bournemouth.
The England international has deputised for Three Lions team-mate and club captain Harry Maguire, who remains on the outside, and Victor Lindelof amid illness and injury over the festive period, while Lisandro Martinez remains absent after Argentina’s World Cup victory.
Shaw has partnered Raphael Varane at the back since the restart, and with a flawless record to finish the year on, has done the work to make his boss take notice.
“Of course, you have your ideas and a plan but sometimes it changes by circumstances like the illnesses for Harry (Maguire) and Victor (Lindelof),” Ten Hag stated. “Normally, they start in the games we have just played, but Luke Shaw did very well against Nottingham Forest. We have seen the past two games he has been fabulous.
“He has impressed but, of course, we also know he is really good as a left full-back. It’s an extra option and that’s always good for a team.”
Opposite number Gary O’Neil, meanwhile, was a member of the Norwich City side that upset United at Old Trafford in 2015, and the Cherries boss hopes he can draw upon his success then to replicate the feat.
“I won there with Norwich and it was special because Norwich were a newly-promoted side as well, in a relegation battle, so to go there and get a victory was big for us,” he said. “It was a special feeling and hopefully we can create that on Tuesday. But it is a tough place to go and I’m sure not many people have successes there.
“Erik ten Hag has obviously done some fantastic work there. They seem to be a much better team than when he came in, so it’s a tough one for us and we need to make sure we are ready.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Manchester United – Marcus Rashford
The England forward has been directly involved in seven of the Red Devils’ last 10 home Premier League goals (5 goals, 2 assists), scoring in each of his last two such games at Old Trafford. Rashford has never scored in three consecutive league appearances at the Theatre of Dreams.
Bournemouth – Philip Billing
The Cherries’ top scorer has been one of their brighter lights this season. Jointly with Kieffer Moore, his four is a best for the campaign with his team and he will need to find his shooting boots once again if they are to pick up points.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Manchester United have won seven of their 10 Premier League meetings with Bournemouth (D1 L2), with both defeats against them coming at the Vitality Stadium.
– Bournemouth have lost eight of their nine away games against Manchester United in all competitions, with the exception being a 1-1 draw in the Premier League in March 2017.
– Bournemouth have never won away from home in the league against either of the Manchester clubs (D2 L12). Only four teams have ever played more times away from home against United and City without winning in the Football League: Hull (24), Walsall (16), Gainsborough Trinity (15) and Chesterfield (15).
– Manchester United have lost their first league game in two of the last three calendar years, as many as they had in the previous 23 (W15 D6). They lost 1-0 at home to Wolves in their first game of 2022, but haven’t lost their first match in consecutive years since 1978/1979.
– Bournemouth have won their first league game in just one of the last 10 calendar years (D6 L3), winning 1-0 at Stoke in 2021.