Southampton vs. Chelsea: A Quiet Day Can't Diminish Luke Shaw's Rare Potential

Sam PilgerContributing Football WriterJanuary 2, 2014

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29:  Luke Shaw of Southampton is tackled by Steven Naismith of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park on December 29, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

It wasn’t the afternoon Luke Shaw would have hoped for against Chelsea at St Mary’s yesterday. 

After being linked with a host of leading clubs this season, including Chelsea, this was Shaw’s opportunity to impress them at close hand. Here was his 90-minute audition to possibly gain a move to Stamford Bridge as soon as this month or later in the year.

But Shaw’s largely ineffective afternoon lasted for only 45 minutes before he was substituted with a minor injury. He spent the rest of the game watching his side lose 3-0. 

It was an unusually quiet game for the Southampton left-back, who has so far this season enjoyed a brilliant campaign. However, this curtailed game couldn’t possibly dent Shaw’s burgeoning reputation around the Premier League.

This season, Shaw has proved himself to be one of English football’s most exciting talents.

Shaw has played a leading role in Southampton’s impressive start to the season, and only the fact that Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines stand in front of him has stopped him making his England debut.

Still only 18 years old, Shaw possesses a rare poise and confidence on the ball. While his pace and agility make him difficult for wingers to beat, his greatest strength is his attacking forays.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01:  Luke Shaw of Southampton battles with Fernando Torres of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Southampton at Stamford Bridge on December 1, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Gett
Ian Walton/Getty Images

There are echoes of Gareth Bale in Shaw’s play, and not just because the Welshman also started his career at Southampton.

In time, Shaw could graduate from the left-back spot and be used like Bale as an attacking player in midfield.

At the moment, though, Shaw is still learning his craft in defence and would probably be best advised to remain on the South Coast for at least the rest of the season.

There is no rush for Southampton to cash in on him at the moment.

While it has been reported by the Daily Telegraph there will be bids for him in January, these same clubs should be back for him again in the summer.

As reported by Sky Sports, Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino is supremely confident Shaw will not be sold in this transfer window:

It is a very clear situation. The player wants to stay, the club is not willing to sell. What we also need to consider is that he is an 18-year-old player, that he is still maturing, still progressing. He is still learning how to be an experienced player.

We need to be very calm about the situation. It has taken his some time to mature as a player and I think all these rumours and all this speculation around him is not beneficial for him.

Our project is about young players and Luke Shaw is a prime example of someone who has come through the ranks at this club. Again, the player is just not for sale. Again, he wants to stay, so there is no Luke Shaw case.

We did not see the real Luke Shaw against Chelsea yesterday, but this should not be dwelt upon. It was a rare off day when he was affected by injury.

The leading clubs who have scouted him all season know what a rare talent he is and are biding their time before attempting to prise him away from Southampton.