Luke Shaw insists talk of a potential £30million move to Manchester United will not distract him from his World Cup duties with England.
Shaw’s remarkable progression reached new heights when he was named in England’s 23-man squad ahead of his boyhood idol Ashley Cole.
The Southampton teenager only made his Premier League debut 18 months ago, but Roy Hodgson saw enough potential in Shaw to ditch Cole, who has now retired from international football.
United have been watching Shaw’s progress closely too. The Red Devils made a £27million bid for the player a week ago, and reports suggest they are willing to offer him a contract worth £100,000 a week.
For a teenager who still lives in academy digs at Southampton and has not passed his driving test, those must be staggering sums to even think about.
But the only thing on Shaw’s mind is realising his dream of playing in a World Cup for England.
When asked if the transfer talk was distracting, Shaw, pictured, said: “No, not at all. It is something that is not even on my mind.
“I am here to play for England and that is all I am focused on.
“It doesn’t bother me one bit.”
News of Cole’s omission leaked the night before the squad was officially announced, but even then Shaw refused to believe he had made the cut.
“I saw Ashley had tweeted, saying he had retired from international football on the Sunday night, but then I didn’t think I was definitely going because there’s Kieran Gibbs as well,” Shaw said modestly.
“I only found out I was in when the squad was announced. I couldn’t sleep on Sunday night. I was with my family and it was a very proud moment for us.
“It was something I had dreamed of, to represent my country at a World Cup. It is the best feeling in the world.”
Shaw, along with the rest of his family – who are nearly all Chelsea fans – have been to Stamford Bridge countless times to sing the left-back’s name from the terraces.
“As I was a Chelsea fan when I was younger I used to go to the games with my mates, and he was someone I idolised (because of) the way he played his game and I looked up to him massively,” said Shaw, who made his England debut against Denmark in March.
“It is a really weird feeling to replace someone I have idolised.
“A few years ago I was sat watching him on TV. It is unbelievable how far I have come.
“I have had two years playing in the Premier League, now I am going to represent my country at the World Cup.”
Although he is almost apologetic for ending Cole’s England days, there is also a sense of confidence about Shaw.
The teenager, who cancelled driving lessons last week so he could relax ahead of England’s training camp in the Algarve, has always had plenty of self-belief.
That is why he has reached the top of the English game despite being released by Chelsea as a youngster because he was too short.
“I think it was only when I was about 14 or 15 and then I got taller and bigger,” he said.
Shaw gives a sense of unease when talking about the fact he was the man whose emergence effectively ended Cole’s 13-year long international career.
That is because he still sees the 33-year-old as an idol.