Football News

How Euros record-breaker Luke Shaw “justified” Gareth Southgate’s biggest decision for England v Italy’

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 21:20, 11 July 2021

Luke Shaw etched his name into the European Championship history books when he put England in front against Italy at Wembley this evening.

The 25-year-old left wing-back netted inside two minutes (1:57 to be precise) after half-volleying a crossfield ball from Kieran Trippier making his strike the fastest registered in Euros final history.

England boss Gareth Southgate reverted to a back-three as a means to nullify the Italian attacking threat and in the opening 45 minutes it paid dividends with Shaw frequently getting up and down the pitch.

“The way Shaw started the move showed great composure,” said Alan Shearer on the BBC.

“An incredible finish on the half-volley to get the accuracy that he did. Stunning, absolutely stunning.”

“That’s wing-back to wing-back, by the way,” added Rio Ferdinand. “It justifies the change in formation.”

Shaw’s effort, his first in a Three Lions shirt, broke the previous record by 3 minutes and 30 seconds. For 57 years Chus Pereda’s goal for Spain in their 1964 meeting with the Soviet Union was the bar though not anymore.

It was already a tournament to remember for the Manchester United man who created three goals heading into Sunday’s final. In terms of goal contribution only Cristiano Ronaldo (five goals and one assist) and Patrik Schick (five goals) have been more productive than him at Euro 2020.

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Having started on the bench in England’s opening game, Shaw forced his way into Southgate’s plan, it came as no surprise to anyone watching him at Manchester United last season.

After many seasons of doubts over his future, the former Southampton man ended the 2020/21 campaign at Old Trafford with one goal and five assists in 32 appearances subsequently silencing his doubts, which included former Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho.

Ferdinand added: “[Shaw] was hung out to dry by Jose Mourinho and publicly…”

“Ridiculed,” Lineker interjected.

Ferdinand again: “That shows he’s worked on himself, not only physically but mentally.”