Luke Shaw laughed off the suggestion that victory in Rome was made even sweeter by it being Jose Mourinho’s backyard as the England standout thanked Gareth Southgate for his trust and faith.
The 25-year-old left-back put in superb display as the Three Lions comprehensively won Saturday’s Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine.
Shaw not only helped England keep a fifth clean sheet of the tournament but provided two assists, sending over a superb free-kick to Harry Maguire before then crossing in for Harry Kane to head home.
The latter just pipped the left-back to the man-of-the-match award following the 4-0 win in Rome, where Shaw downplayed talk that he was one of the stars of the tournament.
“I think, for me, nowhere near the player of the tournament,” Shaw said. “My main objective is to help the team as much as possible, attacking and defensively.
“Of course I could go through a lot of people to thank but I think the most important one is obviously Gareth for trusting me and putting me in the squad and picking me and playing me.
“Maybe even myself (deserves credit) because a lot of people maybe will have doubted me to be in the squad and to play maybe.
“But I’ve kept my head down, kept working hard and hopefully I can keep this responsibility up for the manager.”
Among Shaw’s fiercest critics is Mourinho, his former manager at Manchester United.
The Portuguese made life difficult for the defender during their time together at Old Trafford and continued to aim digs at him through his role as a pundit during the Euros.
Shaw brushed aside that criticism last week and said he was “in the head” of Mourinho, who arrived in the Italian capital on Friday having taken over as manager of Roma.
Asked if it meant anything to put in such an impressive display in his former manager’s new home, he told beIN Sports with a laugh: “No, look, it doesn’t matter.
“I think Jose has his opinion. He’s obviously working for talkSPORT. It’s freedom of speech and he can say whatever he likes.
“I just keep going, keep my head down, like I said, ignore everything and just focus on what’s going on inside the camp.
“My main objective is to help England. No matter what, I’ll give everything for them and I’ll keep on doing that.”
Shaw was withdrawn midway through the second half at the Stadio Olimpico with progress wrapped up and Wednesday’s semi-final against Denmark in mind.
“I’m really proud of the team tonight,” the Manchester United left-back said after cruising past Ukraine.
“Of course our aim was obviously to get in the semi-final but I think we produced an extremely good performance. And we don’t want to stop here. We want to keep going, so that’s our main aim.
“I think the connection in the squad shows on the pitch how together we are as a team.
“Our foundation is obviously keeping clean sheets and not just the defence. I think you can see it from the whole team. Everyone puts in the hard graft.
“Of course we want to create our own history and I think we need everyone defensively solid.
“But I think with the attacking talent we’ve got, we know we’re going to create chances and score goals.”
England have kept seven straight clean sheets for the first time in their history and Shaw was quick to praise goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for his role in their five Euro 2020 shutouts.
“The foundation of our team is keeping clean sheets and as defenders it makes us very proud to hear stats like that,” he said.
“But we don’t want to lose concentration now. I think the concentration in the defence has been unbelievable and of course that starts with Pickers.
“Pickers has been outstanding, for me. He’s been unbelievable, one of our best players this tournament.
“Like I said, it starts with him. I’m really happy for him. He’s been unbelievable.”