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Premier League

Manchester United pre-season tour: Luke Shaw 'is not fit enough to do what I want,' reveals Louis van Gaal

Van Gaal also has a warning for Wilfried Zaha that his United career could be over before it begins as he will need to prove himself as a striker

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has declared that the club’s £28m new signing Luke Shaw – passed over by his boyhood team Chelsea because of his £100,000-a-week wage demands, according to Jose Mourinho – is unfit to play in the Premier League.

Shaw, who became British football’s most expensive teenager when he joined United last month, was marginalised from an open training session last night, ahead of the club’s third tour match against Internazionale in the early hours of tomorrow morning. He was put through an individual fitness regime instead.

Van Gaal, who also revealed in another unflinching blunt press conference that there is no United future for Wilfried Zaha in the wide role to which he is accustomed, did not keep his discontent with the muscular 19-year-old a secret, as Sir Alex Ferguson would always have done.

“He is ok, but I am always a trainer-coach who sees individuals and what they need,” the Dutchman said of Shaw. “He needs to be fit and is not very fit and fit enough to do what I want. He needs to train individually until he is fit. I cannot judge that, but I see what I see. I have spoken with him and we have made a programme for him. He agreed with me.”


Shaw missed barely two weeks of football between the World Cup, where he played only 90 minutes for England – in the dead rubber against Costa Rica - and joining up with United, ahead of other members of the England squad. The full back ought to have needed less time to regain full fitness. To the question of how long his arrival at Premier League readiness would take, Van Gaal replied: “That we have to see, but that I don’t know. I have heard good messages from Strud (fitness coach Tony Strudwick), but we have to see.”

Van Gaal said that Zaha, whose United career has been wretched since he arrived from Crystal Palace last summer, would play his first football of United’s tour against the Italians at the FedEx Field tonight. But with all United’s width now being provided by wing backs in the new 3-4-1-2 system, Van Gaal insisted that Zaha must fight it out for a role as one of the two-man strike force, or have no prospective United career at all.

“He shall play in the second-half [against Inter] in the strikers’ position. When we play this system he has to play as a striker, otherwise he cannot play,” the manager said. “Ashley Young is a winger, but he is another type who can play wing-back and he did very well against Roma [on Saturday]. He can play left and right side, but we shall see.” Van Gaal said he had belief in Zaha as a striker, an unfamiliar role for him. “He can do the job. He believes me and he is now performing well.”

The training session saw Van Gaal rebuking both Darren Fletcher and Young, in a fashion which has now become familiar. There was no great optimism from the manager about striker Javier Hernandez, amid reports of his agent Eduardo Hernandez having arrived in Washington to meet the club and thrash out a move for the 26-year-old. “When he plays, he shall play in a striker’s position, but he has competition from [Wayne] Rooney, [Robin] van Persie, [Danny] Welbeck, Zaha and [William] Keane, so a lot of players,” Van Gaal said.

Rafael has headed home to Manchester with a groin strain. When it was put to Van Gaal that Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini had questioned United’s ability to fight for the title, he said: “I have already answered this question. My vision and opinion about this tour, you know, but we have done very well and I am pleased.”