By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Louis Van Gaal has set Luke Shaw the target of playing in the Europa League final.

The left-back, who broke his leg in two place at the start of the season, is facing uphill battle to play again this season.

But Van Gaal has laid down the gauntlet to the England international after surprisingly naming him in United’s Europa League squad for the knockout stages.

“He can play in the final, I have said that to him,” insisted Van Gaal at his media briefing on Friday. “That gives him spirit and a goal that he has to live for and it is not impossible, in my opinion it is not impossible.”

Following a mixed debut season at Old Trafford, Shaw began the current campaign in excellent form before suffering a horrendous injury during United’s Champions League clash at PSV Eindhoven in September.

It was feared Shaw would be out for the entire domestic season and miss Euro 2016.

But Van Gaal believes the Europa League final in Basel on 18 May is an attainable target for the England international.

Van Gaal and the United staff have total faith that the former Southampton man can develop into one of the world’s best left-backs when he returns to full fitness.

Van Gaal has spoken warmly of the defender this season after being frustrated with his fitness and weight issues in 2014/15.