LONDON • England left-back Luke Shaw believes his Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was right to criticise him and said on Tuesday that the Portuguese had been key to his international recall.
The 23-year-old was last week named in the England squad for the first time in 18 months for the Uefa Nations League match against Spain on Saturday and the friendly with Switzerland on Tuesday.
His return to the international fold follows a strong start to the season. He has played every minute of United's opening four games after he struggled to get into the team last term, with Mourinho critical of Shaw's attitude.
"I think he got frustrated with me because he knew I could do better," Shaw said on how he was treated by Mourinho last season.
"When I look back, maybe he was right. It was a tough few years but it made me stronger mentally. I wanted to prove to him I could do what he said I couldn't.
"I had a chat with the manager before the season and he said he wanted me to stay.
"I've matured. You could say I've gone from a kid to a man. I know what I need to do to push myself. I want to play for Manchester United, stay there and prove my worth to the team."
Shaw was a regular in former United manager Louis van Gaal's team until he broke his leg in two places against PSV Eindhoven in September 2015, missed two months of the 2016-17 season with a groin problem and then twice had operations on his foot.
"No one knows but I was really close to actually losing my leg. I never knew that until six months later when the doctor told me," he revealed. "At the time (of the injury in Eindhoven), they were thinking about flying me back and if I'd have flown back, I would probably have lost my leg because of the blood clots and stuff.
"But I don't really care about that any more. I feel really strong - and my right leg is exactly as it was before my leg break."
Shaw has seven caps but his last appearance was in March last year as a substitute in a 1-0 friendly loss to Germany.
He said he was "gutted" to miss out on the World Cup in Russia this year and watching from the outside - especially when England made it all the way to the semi-finals - inspired him to have extra training in Dubai during the close season to get fit for the new campaign.
"The World Cup is the biggest stage for any footballer. It was wonderful to see how well we did as a team, and how far we got was brilliant. But also it was quite gutting not to be there," he said.
"All the stick I've had in the last few years has pushed me. I wanted to prove everyone wrong and get back to what I do best. I need games to get fully fit and motivated. I'm feeling back to my old self."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE