Luke Shaw backed to reach 100 England caps by manager Roy Hodgson
Last Updated: 10/09/15 12:09am
Roy Hodgson believes Luke Shaw can replicate the achievements of fellow left-back Ashley Cole by winning 100 England caps.
The Manchester United left-back has enjoyed a fine start to the new Premier League season and produced a superb performance for England in the 2-0 Euro 2016 qualifying victory over Switzerland on Tuesday at Wembley.
It is quite the turnaround for Shaw, who this time last year was facing criticism from United manager Louis van Gaal.
The 20-year-old, a £30m acquisition from Southampton, was made to train on his own during the latter stages of United's 2014 pre-season tour of the United States after being deemed unfit by Van Gaal.
Shaw suffered injuries throughout his first season at Old Trafford, but after dedicating part of his holiday to a rigorous fitness regime this summer, he has hit the ground running for club and country.
Four left-backs have been called into the England squad since Cole retired last year. However, Hodgson now feels Shaw can make the left-back 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.
But Hodgson's decision to pick Shaw instead of Cole in his World Cup squad for the finals in Brazil last summer prompted the former Chelsea defender to retire from international football.
And Hodgson insists he never lost faith in Shaw, even when his critics were at their fiercest following his difficult start to life at United.
"I think he's been a bit harshly treated personally," Hodgson said.
"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."
Hodgson can look back on the past two weeks with a certain amount of pride.
The two wins over San Marino and Switzerland cemented England's status as the top qualifying nation in Europe, and Wayne Rooney finally became the nation's all-time record goalscorer.
England became the first country to qualify for Euro 2016 last weekend and they are the only nation who can boast a 100 per cent record.
England have secured top spot in Group E with two matches to go while big nations are struggling to qualify.
Holland are almost certain to fail after winning just three of their opening eight qualifiers while Portugal, Belgium and Germany have all suffered shock defeats over the last year.
Hodgson is glad his team have not suffered any upsets so far.
"Holland are a big nation with big-name players," he said.
"They had such a good World Cup, finishing third and were fourth in the world so that goes to show how quickly football can change."