By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Luke Shaw has revealed his return to outdoor training is going “really well” as he targets his Manchester United comeback.
Manager Louis van Gaal has suggested Shaw could feature in the FA Cup final on 21 May if United are triumphant in their semi-final clash against Everton on Saturday.
The left-back, 20, has been sidelined since suffering a double-leg fracture against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League in September.
Football Insider revealed early in March that Shaw was set to return to training after the recent international break in a bid to play again for United this season.
Following many months of work in the gym and the swimming pool, Shaw stepped up his recovery by returning to the training pitch a fortnight ago to work individually with a club physio. As Van Gaal explained later that week, the aim is to “adapt his muscles and legs” to the hard ground.
The England international used his personal Instagram account on Monday night to post an image of himself alongside several team-mates in Champions League action, with the caption: “Training is going really well outside. Can’t wait to be back on the pitch with the team.”
It is likely to be a few more weeks before Shaw will be in contention for a first-team return but the increase in his training load is hugely encouraging for a player regarded as integral at both club and international level.
The injury was initially regarded as so severe that United internally ruled the England starout of playing again this season but Louis van Gaal showed faith in Shaw’s powers of recovery by including his name in the squad’s Europa League roster.
The United manager has also repeatedly suggested that Shaw could feature in the FA Cup final if the Premier League giants overcome Everton at the last-four stage.
England boss Roy Hodgson left the door open for Shaw to return to the national team in a recent series of interviews when he hinted that there could still be a place for the former Southampton man at Euro 2016.
The latest Manchester United injury news is that Hodgson wants Shaw to prove his fitness before 12 May.
“Yeah, absolutely [the door is open]. All that remains is for him to get fit enough to be selected,” said Hodgson in late March.
“Luke Shaw’s a player we believe in, we think is an excellent talent. We think he will be a major competitor with the other left-backs for a place in the squad.”
Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand and Tottenham’s Danny Rose were the two left-backs named in Hodgson’s squad for the recent friendlies against Germany and Holland, although the former pulled out with an injury and Rose ended up starting both matches.