Luke Shaw V James Milner: On the face of things not a contest between two similar players, though they both played left back last season. One is still a relatively young talent, exploding out of Southampton, signed by Manchester United for a huge fee. He’s fighting to make his name against the doubters and injuries. The other is a veteran, playing for Leeds, Newcastle, Aston Villa and Manchester City, in a multitude of positions before signing for Liverpool. One is a flying talent, the other a dogged battler who Klopp sees playing best at Left back. But who’s been better?
Luke Shaw V James Milner: Defence
Last season, Shaw made 11 league appearances for Manchester United, He kept 3 clean sheets, conceded 6 goals and made 12 tackles. His tackle success rate was 50%. 1 of those was a crucial last-man tackle. For a fair comparison, Milner played 36 league games last season. He made 94 tackles with a success rate of 67%. He blocked 10 shots and made 44 interceptions. Milner completed 100 clearances, 49 with his head.
Shaw blocked 4 shots, made 13 interceptions and completed 27 clearances, 11 of which were with his head. he made 0 recoveries but won 38 duels and 9 successful 50/50 balls. Milner made 207 recoveries and won 203 duels. He successfully navigated 32 50/50 balls. he won 56 aerial battles and made no errors leading to a goal. Shaw won 11 aerial battles, scored no own goals and made no errors leading to a goal.
On paper, it seems even when you average out the number of appearances, Milners stats seem well ahead when it comes to defence. but what about the other aspects of the game.
Luke Shaw V James Milner: Team Play
Last season James Milner grabbed himself 3 assists and made 2,168 passes. That’s 60.2 per match. He created 4 clear cut chances and crossed 259 balls with a 20% accuracy, which isn’t fabulous. he played 2 solid through balls and 131 accurate long balls.
In 11 games last year, Luke Shaw got 1 assist, made 382 passes, making 34.7 per match. He created 1 clear cut chance and made 21 crosses with a 33% accuracy. He didn’t play any through balls but did manage 9 accurate long balls.
Luke Shaw V James Milner: Attack
In 11 games last season, which we have to remember is less than a third of a season, Luke Shaw didn’t excel at all in attack. In fact, he scored no goals at all. James Milner scored 7. he also took 36 shots, 17 of which were on target with a shooting accuracy of 47%. He missed 2 clear cut chances though. Milner is also known to take penalties for Liverpool so this has to be factored in too.
In overview, Milner looks to provide more for Liverpool but its worth nothing that Luke Shaw has had to struggle back from a nightmare injury with a new manager in a side fighting to find its shape and grow into a world powerhouse. Whether the initial £30 million price tag weighed too heavily on the youngsters head, Manchester United fans will be hoping he can form a key part of an increasingly impressive back line. For Milner, an apparent shift in play this coming season could mean yet more change for the former Manchester City man, but he seems to thrive on that.
What do you think? Who’s the better Left back: Luke Shaw V James Milner