fringe benefits

Shaw: United backup players must be at their best against Arsenal

The Red Devils’ injury list has grown further during the international break, but the full-back feels those who come in against the Gunners must take their chance to impress.

MANCHESTER UNITED DEFENDER Luke Shaw believes the club’s fringe players must step up and take their chance to impress against Arsenal on Saturday.

The Red Devils are set to be without a number of first team players for their trip to the Emirates Stadium, with Daley Blind the latest to join their injury list after tearing his medial ligament while on international duty for Netherlands.

Angel Di Maria could also miss the trip to north London, with long-term absentees Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans definitely out. And though Radamel Falcao has been pencilled in for a return following his own fitness issues, Shaw feels those players who come into the starting XI will have a point to prove.

“I think it’s time for people to step up,” he told reporters. “The players who are not getting game time, who are frustrated on the bench, can come in for a massive game like Arsenal that everyone will want to play in.

“We know we’ve picked up a lot of injuries, especially in defence, where it’s always changing each time. We’ve obviously picked up another injury with Daley Blind, but we’ve got to deal with that and try to get around this week and go firing into the Arsenal game.

“Everyone will be working hard and focusing on this weekend and come Saturday we’ll be ready to go.” Shaw has enjoyed a run in the first team at Old Trafford after a hamstring injury delayed his debut for the club following his summer transfer from Southampton. And after criticism of his post-World Cup fitness by manager Louis van Gaal, the teenager believes he is nearing his best and beginning to show why the 20-time English champions spent €38 million on him.

“Obviously, the fitness side was something me and Louis van Gaal talked about, but I feel really good at the moment, really fit,” he added. “It was all about getting a run of games and that’s something that I’ve had. So, hopefully, I can keep getting a run of games and keep improving.

“It was a frustrating time picking up that injury, but the toughest thing was getting back into the team. Now I’ve had a run of games and I’m feeling really good. “Hopefully, I can keep getting games now and show people why United have bought me.”

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