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Shaw cherishes England debut

06 Mar 2014 15:16:52

Shaw cherishes England debut

Luke Shaw never imagined England recognition would come at such a young age, but now it has he is intent on making World Cup selection a 'hard decision' for Roy Hodgson.

Just 16 months on from making his Premier League debut, the highly-rated 18-year-old's impressive displays for Southampton saw him collect a first England cap in Wednesday's 1-0 defeat of Denmark.

Shaw came on at the break in place of boyhood idol Ashley Cole and seamlessly slotted in at left-back, providing an attacking option as well as a sturdy defensive presence.

Asked if he could have imagined this moment six months ago, the teenager said: "No way. I wouldn't even have thought I would even be getting mentioned to be going away with the senior squad.

"But it has happened and I enjoyed every minute of it and I will never forget the moment I came on.

"It has been an emotional week and the best week of my life. I will never forget this week."

Shaw's impressive debut will give Hodgson a pleasant headache when it comes to choosing his squad for Brazil.

With Leighton Baines' place all-but assured, it is a straight fight between Shaw and experienced Chelsea defender Cole for the other left-back berth.

"I am not thinking about that yet," Shaw said when asked about his World Cup chances.

"Obviously I did play a part in that game but there are important games coming up for my club.

"Hopefully if I keep putting in good performances then Roy will have a hard decision to make."

Shaw found out he would be making his debut after lunch on Wednesday, when Hodgson took him aside to tell him he would be coming on in the second half.

That is when the butterflies kicked in but, despite admitting it was "probably the most nervous I have ever felt", those emotions dissipated when he took to the Wembley turf.

"As soon as I got on the pitch, all the nerves went and I enjoyed every bit of it," he told Southampton's official YouTube channel. "I just tried to focus on playing my normal game.

"I had a word with Frank Lampard before the game and he said 'I have been in this situation before, you're 18 years old, I know how you are feeling. You are going to feel nervous but make sure you enjoy every minute of it and just play how you've been playing for your club'."

Advice from England's senior internationals no doubt helped Shaw, so too the presence of Saints team-mates Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert and Lallana in the squad.

The latter was the only other one of the Southampton quartet to feature against Denmark and provided the cross from which Daniel Sturridge headed home the winner - a moment Shaw believes will seal the Saints captain's ticket to Brazil.

"He definitely grabbed his opportunity with both hands," he said.

"I think before that he was nailed on for Brazil the way he has been performing for his club and his country.

"We knew what talent Adam has and yesterday he proved it to the world."

Shaw received plenty of pats on the back when he returned to Southampton's Staplewood training ground on Thursday morning.

Preparations have already begun in earnest for Saints' weekend trip to Crystal Palace, whose winger Jason Puncheon was one of the first on the phone to Shaw after the match.

"He has played a massive part," Shaw said of the former Saints man, who left in an initial loan deal last summer. "He has helped me a lot when he was here.

"Last night he rang me up after the game to say how proud and happy he was that I made my debut for the England senior team.

"He said 'don't stop now, just keep going'."


PA

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