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Irwin - Luke Shaw can be a United great

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Irwin backs Shaw to shine
Irwin backs Shaw to shine

Manchester United legend Denis Irwin has backed Luke Shaw to prove his doubters wrong and emerge as a star at Old Trafford.

Irishman Irwin etched himself a place in United folklore as one of the club's greatest full-backs in his 12-year Old Trafford career, with his role in the club's iconic Treble triumph of 1999 confirming his status.

It is the kind of success Shaw was dreaming of emulating when he swapped Southampton for United last summer, with Irwin convinced the youngster who has been criticised by some observers this season will come good.

"I have no doubt he will be a great player for us in years to come," said Irwin.

"Until he gets a run of games I don't think you are going to see the quality Luke Shaw can bring to a side. When he gets that under his belt you will see the best of him.

"Hopefully he will stay injury-free for us for the rest of year and get a run of games."

Irwin suggests Shaw needs time to prove his worth at United, with his lack of experience making it tough for him to live up to his £27m price tag this season.

"He had a couple of years at Southampton, he had a big-money move here and he was involved in a World Cup at just 18 years old so the spotlight has been on him through no fault of his own," added Irwin.

"When you are 19 you will make mistakes and you will learn from them.

"I have no doubt he will be getting plenty of advice from the coaches and the manager."