Luke Shaw believes the public criticism he previously received from Jose Mourinho has helped him become stronger mentally after the Manchester United defender earned an England recall.
Shaw missed out on Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad, the full-back reduced to the role of spectator as England reached the semi-finals in Russia.
The former Southampton defender has struggled to realise his potential at Old Trafford, with his development at the club hindered by a double leg fracture suffered in 2015.
He made his return during Mourinho’s first season in charge, but his performances during the Portuguese’s tenure have regularly drawn the ire of the former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter boss.
However, Shaw has made a strong start to the 2018-19 campaign and scored in their opening 2-1 win over Leicester City.
His form has seen him earn a call-up from Southgate for UEFA Nations League clash with Spain and a subsequent friendly with Switzerland. Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli will join Shaw in the squad having been added to it on Tuesday.
Speaking at a media conference, Shaw credited Mourinho with helping him gain a recall.
He told reporters of his relationship with his club manager: “Of course, it was a tough two years, but I think mentally I’ve come out stronger, made me want to prove to him that I can do what sometimes he said I couldn’t.
“At this stage I feel really good and just focusing on what’s to come, doing things right and training hard.
“I think he got frustrated with me because he knew I could be better and maybe at times I look back and think he could be right. But I don’t want to focus on that.
“I spoke with him before the season and he said he wanted me to stay and fight for my place, and that motivated me a lot in the off-season. I’ve come back, played pre-season games, got my fitness fully and it’s all good.
“Of course [he had] a lot [of an impact in the recall], he put his trust into me at the start of the season and at times it would’ve been easy for him to say: ‘I want to sell him and I don’t want him here anymore’.
“But I think he’s always believed in me and I always believed in myself. You could say he’s had a big part, but I think personally I’ve done a lot too to get into his team and into his trust.”
Asked about how it felt watching England’s surprising progress under Southgate at the World Cup, Shaw replied: “That made me want it more, because obviously the World Cup is the biggest stage for any footballer, it was wonderful seeing how well we did, how far we got was brilliant.
“It was gutting to not be there, but I understand it was the right choice from Gareth. It motivated me more to work hard.”