Luke Shaw was among the heroes as England beat Ukraine 4-0 to qualify for the semi-finals of Euro 2020.
The Manchester United man had come under fire heading into the tournament, with former Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho particularly scathing of his set-pieces, having never been a fan of the left-back when they worked together.
But Shaw, whose performances for Man Utd across the season earned him a recall to the England set-up, has been Gareth Southgate’s first-choice left-back at Euro 2020 from the second game on, having had to watch as Kieran Trippier started out of position against Croatia.
Although England drew a blank in Shaw’s first start, against Scotland, he created two chances, which he would replicate against the Czech Republic as the Three Lions topped Group D.
But Shaw’s biggest moments have come on the big occasions for England, helping them reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020 by setting up half of their six goals scored in the knockout stages. The first came in England’s 2-0 win over Germany at Wembley, with the Man Utd man sending a dangerous ball cross the box for Raheem Sterling to tap in, given Southgate’s side the lead.
He was then the main man against Ukraine as England blew their opponents away in the second half, turning what could have been a nervy 45 minutes into a rout and securing back-to-back major tournament semi-finals for the first time. Shaw assisted goals two and three in the game, the first coming with an excellent free-kick to set up Harry Maguire, putting another nail in the coffin of Mourinho’s opinions on his set-pieces.
It’s fitting that it came at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, home of Mourinho’s new side Roma, a fact that was not lost on fans watching from home.
Luke Shaw masterclass in Jose Mourinho's back yard…
— Adam McKola (@AdamMcKola) July 3, 2021
There’s something beautifully poetic in Luke Shaw dominating at the stadium of Jose Mourinho’s new club ?
— Danyal Khan (@DanyalHKhan) July 3, 2021
@LukeShaw23 ??? the best ??
— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) July 3, 2021
LUKE SHAW THE LEFT FOOTED BECKHAM
— Jack (@JackBrownnn_) July 3, 2021
Luke shaw or David Beckham? I ❤️
— Shashank Keshore ?? (@sha2nk99) July 3, 2021
But Shaw was not done there. Four minutes after setting up Maguire, he had his second assist of the game, this time from open play as he overlapped Sterling before dinking the ball towards the centre of the box, where Harry Kane was on hand to head in.
Only two players have managed 3+ assists for England at a single Euros tournament, David Beckham and now Shaw.
Only two English players have provided 3+ assists at a single European Championship tournament:
David Beckham (2000)
Luke Shaw (2020)
Pinpoint delivery. ? pic.twitter.com/UxGQSvA4Ct
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) July 3, 2021
It’s only Beckham ahead of Shaw for total number of assists for England at European Championships overall, too, with the former No.7 ending his career on five, a tally Shaw will have in his sights in trying to get England to glory.