Roy Hodgson tells Luke Shaw to make England's left-back position his own
Luke Shaw can replicate Ashley Cole's achievements by winning 100 England caps and making the left-back position his own for over a decade, boss Roy Hodgson has told him.
It represents a real sea change for Shaw who, a year ago, was struggling to adapt to life as a £30million Manchester United player.
The left-back was made to train on his own during the latter stages of United's pre-season tour because he reported for duty out of shape.
The England defender suffered injuries throughout his first season at Old Trafford, but after dedicating part of his holiday to a rigorous fitness regime this summer, he now looks in excellent shape and has found form for club and country.
Four left-backs have been called into the England squad since Cole retired last year. Now Hodgson believes Shaw has the potential to make the position his own for many years to come.
"He's still only 20 and if he keeps going then he's on track to be another Ashley Cole, a 100 cap man and I would advise him to study Ashley Cole, look at what Ashley did for England and set my sights on the same thing," the England manager said.
Cole was England's first-choice left-back for the vast majority of his 13-year international career.
It was only when Hodgson first spotted Shaw's potential that he dropped the 107-cap Roma defender and that prompted Cole to retire from international football.
Picking Shaw ahead of Cole for the World Cup was a big gamble for Hodgson, but it showed how much faith he had in the youngster, who had made his full Premier League debut in November 2012.
The England manager insists he never lost faith in the player even when his critics were at their fiercest.
"I think he's been a bit harshly treated personally," said Hodgson, who played Shaw in the wins over San Marino and Switzerland over the course of the last week.
"He didn't look as if he was looking after himself too badly at Southampton and played well enough to get the £30million move.
"I'm not certain I want to jump on that bandwagon. But it's nice to see him back, playing confidently and showing him the form that got him the move to Manchester United in the first place.
"We've always believed in him. I thought he played very well against Costa Rica and was pencilled in as the player who could give Leighton Baines a run for his money but he had a tough season.
"It must have been tough for him and his family but it might benefit him."
Shaw will return to domestic duties in Saturday when United host Liverpool at Old Trafford.
Wayne Rooney is hoping to score his first league goal of the season after breaking Sir Bobby Charlton's scoring record against the Swiss.
"There's no better game to go into than Liverpool at home after losing our last game it is a game we have to win and it's something I'm looking forward to," the England skipper said.