Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has admitted that he is grateful to manager Louis van Gaal for his backing despite the defender struggling in the first season at Old Trafford.

The English defender was touted as a star of the future when the Red Devils snapped him from Southampton for a hefty fee of £27m, but a spate of injuries throughout the current campaign has seen him fail to make an impact under the Dutchman.

Shaw himself admitted that he has struggled after making the step up from a mid-table club in Southampton to 20-time English champions, but believes that he is learning more about himself to improve and prove his ability next season.

Earlier in the season, Van Gaal had criticised the young defender regarding his fitness levels, but has since changed his tune and stated recently that he "believes" in Shaw following the improvement shown by the full- back in recent weeks.

The 19-year-old defender is over the moon following the manager's praise and believes that a player cannot ask for anything more than his manager's trust.

"I was really happy when I saw the manager had said that about me. Just to know he's got trust in me is something special and I couldn't ask for any more," Shaw told United's official site.

"With all the injuries, it's been quite hard. My season hasn't been the best but not the worst either," the former Saints defender added.

The Red Devils have all but qualified for the Champions League next season, and Shaw is ecstatic at the prospect of playing in the competition at such a young age.

"As a 19-year-old boy, to be able to think that you'll be playing in the Champions League next season is really incredible. It's something that I want to achieve but not just me, everyone else in the squad wants to achieve it too. It's one of the biggest competitions in world and we all want to show what we can do on the big stage," the United defender concluded.