Erik ten Hag suggests using Manchester United full-back Luke Shaw as centre-back with Lisandro Martinez suspended vs Barcelona
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has suggested that Luke Shaw could be deployed at centre-back against Barcelona in the absence of Lisandro Martinez.
The Argentina international picked up three yellow cards during the group stages of the Europa League. As a result, the 25-year-old will miss the first leg against the Blaugrana at Camp Nou.
Speaking ahead of the fixture via Metro, the gaffer is not worried about Martinez’s suspension. The Dutch manager is confident about the Red Devils’ squad having enough depth, with the former Southampton left-back playing as a central defender on a few occasions this season.
“We have many options I think to sort it out. We can use Luke as a full-back and centre-back. We saw at the weekend [in the 2-0 win at Leeds] he did both. We can choose by game what we prefer.”
The former Ajax star has been a key player for the Old Trafford side in the current campaign. Alongside Raphael Varane, the 2022 World Cup winner has formed a formidable partnership in our backline.
As a result, the Argentine and French nationals have been Ten Hag’s preferred duo in the defence. Subsequently, the likes of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have seen their game time dwindle.
However, in recent weeks, Shaw has also emerged as a decent option to play as a centre-back. The 27-year-old had a couple of good performances as a central defender against Nottingham Forest and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.
Then, the England international was tasked with playing the same role against Manchester City. The left-back held his own against Erling Haaland as we won 2-1.
In our previous fixture, the 2-0 win over Leeds United, Shaw started as a centre-back with Maguire. At the hour mark, with Martinez entering the field in place of Tyrell Malacia, the 27-year-old moved to left-back and gave the assist for Marcus Rashford’s goal.
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Therefore, the England international has shown that he is more than capable of playing in the central position. However, it remains to be seen whether the gaffer will have him play that position against a tough opposition like Barcelona.