Why Luke Shaw is with England squad amid lengthy Man Utd absence

The Manchester United left-back has struggled for fitness all season.

Luke Shaw has joined up with the England squad for the March international break but continues to work alone as he recovers from a muscle injury.

Shaw has struggled with fitness issues all season and suffered another setback during the 2-1 win at Luton Town in February. Manchester United confirmed shortly after that the left-back would be out for 'a few months' but it is not unlikely that he misses the remainder of the campaign.

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The 28-year-old was not named in Gareth Southgate's squad for upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Belgium - the final international break of the season - but has travelled down to St. George's Park to continue his individual rehabilitation programme. He is not expected to be involved in any training sessions.

There is still hope that Shaw can recover in time to be involved in this summer's tournament in Germany, with the first group stage game against Serbia kicking off on June 16, almost a full month after United's final Premier League game against Brighton on May 19 - although Erik ten Hag's side could also feature in the FA Cup final on May 25 if they beat Championship outfit Coventry City in the semi-final.

Any chance of being fit will almost certainly guarantee Shaw's spot in the 23-man squad, given he is Southgate's first-choice and is in a position where alternatives are not plentiful. Ben Chilwell is the only natural left-back to be named in the March squad, although Joe Gomez can also play there.

United initially had two players involved in the squad, with Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire both involved despite the latter only just returning from a three-week absence off the bench in the 4-3 FA Cup win against Liverpool on Sunday. Kobbie Mainoo was originally named in the under-21s squad for the first time but the 18-year-old was promoted to the senior set up on Tuesday.

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Shaw has missed 25 of United's 40 games this season due to a number of issues. The left-back missed three months between August and November 2023 due to a muscle injury and upon returning, he picked up a niggling hamstring issue that caused him to miss four games between December and January.

The defender returned in the FA Cup win over Newport County at the end of January and played four straight Premier League games in February, but lasted less than 45 minutes against Aston Villa and then Luton. 15 appearances will be his lowest total at United since the 2015/2016 campaign in which he played eight times before suffering a double leg break in September of that campaign.

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