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May 23, 2014

Luke Shaw: I feel no World Cup pressure

As England build towards the World Cup, Southampton stars Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert are looking to seize their chance.

Luke Shaw has pledged to justify his inclusion in England's World Cup squad at the expense of Ashley Cole, and is ignoring talk of pressure and a summer move as he looks to succeed in Brazil.

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Just 18 months after making his league debut for Southampton, the left-back has grown to become one of the hottest prospects in world football.

Manchester United's interest in Shaw is widely known and is no surprise given his rapid ascent, which has seen the boyhood Chelsea fan usurp idol Cole in the England pecking order.

The Chelsea left-back, a veteran of 107 caps, announced his international retirement after Roy Hodgson plumped for Shaw, but Shaw is not concerned with the scrutiny brought by that decision.

"There's no pressure,'' he said. "I don't really feel pressure. I just focus on my own game.

"I have come here to help the England team and I will do everything I can. You never know what may happen. Leighton Baines may play in the first game for the first 10 minutes, pick up an injury and I could be in.

"I am never going to go to a tournament thinking I am not playing because if something like that does happen, I have got to be ready.''

Shaw speaks with a maturity that echoes his on-field performances, making it hard to comprehend that he watched the 2010 World Cup as a 14-year-old at his family home in Surrey.

"I remember that World Cup sitting at home with my family on the settee and I was thinking one day I want to be playing in one of these tournaments,'' Shaw continued. "But not as soon as it has happened -- I was very surprised.

"With Ashley Cole not playing that many games I thought I might have a chance, but obviously he played in the last three games of the season and played incredibly well so that made me think that maybe it might not be my turn.

"Obviously, I saw that I was announced in the squad and it was the best feeling in the world. I remember when I was sitting there with my family and friends and we were just all so proud that I am still only 18 and going to a World Cup.''

Shaw's only senior international experience to date came against Denmark in March, when he came on as half-time substitute for Cole in a 1-0 win.

That display coupled with his fine form for Southampton did enough to persuade Hodgson to take him to Brazil, as well as leading United to step up their interest this summer.

Needing to rebuild after a disappointing season which saw David Moyes lose his job, the Red Devils see Shaw as a key target -- something which may distract a player who does not even turn 19 until the eve of the World Cup final.

"It is something that is not even on my mind,'' he said in response to the speculation. "Transfer talk is completely gone -- I am here to focus on England and England only.''

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