Premier League: Manchester United face tough Burnley test at Turf Moor in bid to close gap at the top
Luke Shaw hopes to be offered the opportunity to resurrect his Premier League career by Jose Mourinho at Burnley on Sunday after helping Manchester United into the Europa League semi-finals.
Manchester: Luke Shaw hopes to be offered the opportunity to resurrect his Premier League career by Jose Mourinho at Burnley on Sunday after helping Manchester United into the Europa League semi-finals.
The England full-back played 120 minutes in Thursday’s extra-time victory over Anderlecht as United set up a semi-final meeting against Celta Vigo in a competition which offers them their most realistic chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
But, with a derby visit to fourth-placed Manchester City on Thursday, United still have hopes of finishing in the top four and qualifying for Europe's top competition through that route.
That makes the visit to Burnley all the more important with Shaw hoping he can add to a run that has seen him start just two league games since United last played Sean Dyche's side, in a goalless draw, at the end of October.
"I haven't had much game-time recently and I think, especially with the 120 minutes today, it will help a lot with my fitness levels," said Shaw.
"It will help me get through the games coming up easier.
"Of course, we will recover well but the great thing about our squad is we have quality players all around in every position and people can come in and go out.
"When their chance comes, they take it."
Shaw's season has been disrupted by injuries and what appeared to have been a falling-out with his manager due to perceived problems with his attitude and work ethic.
But his presence could be all the more important to United after Marcos Rojo added to Mourinho's defensive problems during the Anderlecht victory, with the Argentinian joining Phil Jones and Chris Smalling in the United treatment room.
'He's a fighter'
Reserve captain Axel Tuanzebe, whose first team career amounts to a 22-minute substitute outing against Wigan in the FA Cup, could also be in contention for a league debut at Turf Moor and, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic also picking up an injury in midweek, Wayne Rooney could be in contention for a recall.
"He (Rooney) has a good mentality, he's a fighter, he's a strong man and, even if he's not in the best condition or not at the level of sharpness that you need to play high-level football, he has the experience and the character," said Mourinho.
Burnley are waiting to discover what punishment will befall midfielder Joey Barton, who appeared before a Football Association hearing on Friday in relation to betting charges.
Barton was charged with misconduct after being accused of breaking FA gambling rules, but an original hearing scheduled for March was postponed, and has only just been rearranged.
The 34-year-old faces the prospect of a long ban, which would rule him out of Burnley’s run-in.
They have won just one of their 10 Premier League matches since the end of January, and cannot yet be certain of Premier League survival.
However, they probably need to win just one of their final five games to ensure a second successive season of top-division football.
The concern for Dyche is the goals have dried up -- just two in five matches.
Sam Vokes is a doubt for the visit of United, having suffered a hamstring problem last weekend, which could mean a recall to the starting line-up for leading scorer Andre Gray, who has gone six games without a goal.
"Andre had been playing but came out last week, so he will be fresh, and we have different options in midfield to consider if we choose to go that way," said Dyche.
The 29-year-old Son has compiled 107 goals and 64 assists in 280 appearances in all competitions since joining Tottenham from Bayer Leverkusen in August 2015.
The 25-year-old Gray joins from Bayer Leverkusen, where he had been on loan from Leicester. The contract, till June 2024, includes the option for a fourth year.
"Giroud is expected to be in Italy on Thursday to undergo medicals and sign the contract," wrote Sky Sport on its website.