Ten Hag confident Shaw can thrive as Man Utd centre-back

Erik ten Hag is confident Luke Shaw can thrive at centre-back if the Manchester United left-back is asked to play out of position again.

Shaw helped United to wins against Nottingham Forest and Wolves over the festive period after Ten Hag opted to deploy the England international in the centre of his defence.

The 27-year-old could again start alongside Raphael Varane at centre-back when United face Bournemouth at Old Trafford in their first match of 2023 on Tuesday.

Argentina World Cup winner Lisandro Martinez has resumed training and may be available but if the centre-back needs more time to rest, Ten Hag has no hesitation about calling on Shaw again.

That would be another blow to United centre-back Harry Maguire, who has struggled to hold down a place in Ten Hag's starting line-up this season.

"You have a plan, sometimes it changes by circumstances like illnesses. Casemiro did well at centre-half, like Shaw against Forest," Ten Hag said on Monday.

"The way we were to approach Wolves, I thought it was the best match with Rafa (Varane) and Luke, you know the speed of Wolves over the right side and he could cover that.

"We wanted to attack on the left side with an offensive game from Tyrell Malacia and, in possession with a left footer, you get better angles on the pitch.

"He was impressing but he is also good as a left full-back. It's an extra option which is always good."

Ten Hag was unhappy with United's first-half performance in their 1-0 win at Wolves before Marcus Rashford came off the bench to score the goal that moved them into the Premier League's top four.

Rashford had been dropped to a substitute role after oversleeping and being late to a team meeting, but his presence revitalised United after the break against Wolves.

"I saw a different approach in the second half, there was more investment, more focus, aggression. We had a better organisation in the second half and created more chances," Ten Hag said.

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