Luke Shaw appeared to suggest he finds greater enjoyment in his football when playing for England than Manchester United.
Shaw scored the Three Lions’ equaliser in Saturday’s 2-1 friendly win over Switzerland, which was secured by a second-half Harry Kane penalty.
That was Shaw’s sixth goal involvement in his past eight matches for England, with the left-back seemingly established as first choice for Gareth Southgate.
He remains a reliable creative source at club level as well, with his five assists across all competitions in 2021-22 bettered by only Paul Pogba (nine) and Bruno Fernandes (13), while the latter (107) is also the only United player to create more chances than Shaw (47).
But much like club and international colleague Harry Maguire, Shaw’s United form has been criticised at times this term, especially with regard to his defensive positioning in an extremely porous backline – only four teams have faced more shots on target in the Premier League this season than the Red Devils (143).
That would understandably be difficult to enjoy for a defender, but Shaw’s frankness about the situation will likely raise eyebrows at Old Trafford.
“The environment here that Gareth creates, you always enjoy it,” Shaw told reporters at Wembley.
“When I come here it’s about enjoyment and playing games with a smile on my face. We all love playing for our country and when we’re here we’re all focused on what’s happening here.”
Shaw was then asked if he had to be happy in order to find his best form, to which he replied: “I think everyone does.
“It’s always important to feel like you’re wanted and especially here I always feel that. I’m not saying I don’t at United, but especially here, the way things are, I feel wanted and I enjoy my football.
“A big part of football is the enjoyment and, of course, it’s hard to enjoy when we’re losing and not playing well at club level. We have to face that.
“This season hasn’t been good enough at all and it’s hard to enjoy. We’ve got a lot to improve but right now we’re here at England. My focus is on that.”