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Luke Shaw does not have Brazil on his mind - yet
Updated 8:40am Monday 3rd March 2014 in Sport
Luke Shaw might be set for a World Cup audition this week, but he insists the prospect of making it to Brazil isn’t on his mind yet.
The Saints left-back has been called up by Roy Hodgson for Wednesday’s friendly against Denmark, at Wembley, where he could be handed a first senior cap.
Shaw is one of three players in his position, along with Everton’s Leighton Baines and Chelsea’s Ashley Cole, who are being considered for this summer’s tournament.
It is one of the most intriguing battles going into the final fixture before Hodgson names his squad for the World Cup, but the 18-year-old says he is not concerning himself with that.
Instead, he is just intent on enjoying and learning as much as possible over the next few days.
“Brazil isn’t on my mind at all,” he said. “This is just an experience for me to go away and see how training is.
“To experience the Wembley atmosphere, you know what I mean? It would be good for someone like me, at 18.
“I am not thinking anything about Brazil yet. I’ve still got games with my club left, and Denmark on Wednesday.”
Shaw has been capped at youth level for England, but running onto the Wembley turf as a senior international would be a whole new ballgame.
“As an 18-year-old boy, it is a dream come true for me if I get that opportunity. Hopefully I do,” he said.
Hodgson, who broke the news of Shaw’s selection in a phone call to him last Thursday, has not yet told him whether he will play.
“We didn’t really get much time to talk,” said Shaw. “I think I was on the phone for a couple of minutes.
“He said ‘you’re here on merit, have been playing really well for your club so, as you come here, keep doing what you’re doing’.
“He said it would be a good experience for me to train with them for the three days, and who knows what will happen on Wednesday.”
Shaw’s presence in the England squad appears to be of greatest threat to Cole, who has not played a league match for Chelsea in almost two months.
While much will be made this week of the challenge that the 33-year-old faces from his teenage counterpart, the veteran left-back might well find he has few bigger supporters than Shaw.
The Saints ace is not only full of admiration for Cole, but is hoping to also receive some valuable guidance from him.
“I was a massive fan. Most people know I was a Chelsea supporter and I used to go to the games,” said Shaw, who reiterated that he remains “very happy” at St Mary’s.
“For me, Ashley Cole was the best left-back in the world and, yeah, I learned a lot from watching him when I was younger and I am sure he will help me when I am away with England.”
“Rickie will take me under his wing, as well as Adz and Jay,” he said.
“They all say ‘keep doing what you’re doing’ and even Roy said that when I spoke to him on the phone.”
Shaw also received a few words from the England captain, Steven Gerrard, following Saturday’s 3-0 defeat against Liverpool.
He explained: “After, he congratulated me and said ‘I will see you tomorrow’.
“It is great for me. Just for him to know me and say that to me is obviously amazing. I just can’t wait to get started.”
Shaw added: “It is crazy. I was thinking about all the players that are in the England squad.
“Three years ago I was watching them on telly and now I will be training with world-class players like (Wayne) Rooney and the Liverpool players out there today. I can’t wait.”
Shaw is not easily fazed, certainly judging by the aplomb with which he handled his first engagement with newspaper journalists on Saturday.
And that is nothing compared to how confidently and maturely he has conducted himself on the pitch.
“I don’t worry,” he said. “If I worry about it and think more, I might start making mistakes.
“Whoever I play against, I want to try my best and prove myself.”
Speaking after facing Premier League top scorers Luis Suárez and Daniel Sturridge, Shaw added: “It is a big test for me, coming up against the best players in the world. I just want to do that week in, week out.
“Hopefully going away with England the next few days I can show Roy what I can do there.”
It is certainly an exciting time for Shaw, who made his 50th Premier League appearance for Saints at the weekend, but also an emotional one.
However, he is keen to point out that, despite widespread reports last week, he did not cry at news of his first England call-up.
“I rang my mum up and she was crying down the phone,” he said. “I wasn’t crying, just emotional. A little tear, but not crying.”
Regardless, breaking the news to his parents, Joanna and Paul, is something that will live with Shaw for some time.
“That phone call with my mum, she was in tears. She was so proud of what I have achieved at such a young age,” he said.
“Even my dad was a bit teary, and I don’t want to stop here, I want to keep pushing myself.”
Shaw’s progression has been incredibly rapid, but a lot of work has gone in over the course of many years for him to reach this stage.
He has been with the club since the age of eight, and says he owes a huge amount to his mum and dad for all the times they drove him to-and-from their Surrey home.
“I’ve been doing it since I was eight,” said Shaw, who is now the joint-second-youngest player, behind Wayne Rooney, to make 50 Premier League appearances.
“I think back then, it was two days a week and a game on a Saturday.
“I would travel down to Southampton on evenings as well, with school the next day.
“If it wasn’t for my parents, I don’t think I would be here, so a massive ‘thank you’ to them. They have helped me come a long way.”
And, such is his enormous potential, it seems there is so much further that Shaw could still go.
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