The 19-year-old was made to train on his own after turning up to pre-season out of shape and he was then hit by hamstring and ankle problems. The left-back has started just 12 Premier League games so far, but Irwin is sure the club will start seeing a return on their £28million investment once his injury troubles are over. “I have no doubt he will be a great player for us in years to come,” Irwin told Press Association Sport. “Until he gets a run of games I don’t think you are going to see the quality Luke Shaw can bring to a side. “When he gets that under his belt you will see the best of him. “Hopefully he will stay injury-free for us for the rest of year and get a run of games.” United beat strong competition from Shaw’s boyhood club Chelsea to sign the defender from Southampton last summer. Irwin believes it is unreasonable to expect too much too soon from a player who only made his Premier League debut in November 2012, regardless of how much United paid for him. Denis Irwin remains convinced Luke Shaw will be a big star at Manchester United. Irwin, one of the most decorated defenders in United’s history, tipped Shaw to star for United shortly after he signed for the club, but the teenager has had a mixed maiden campaign so far. Shaw has impressed on a few occasions, but injury has prevented him from fulfilling his potential. Press Association “He has had a big couple of years,” said Irwin, who played 529 times for the club. “He had a couple of years at Southampton, he had a big-money move here and he was involved in a World Cup at just 18-years-old so the spotlight has been on him through no fault of his own. “When you are 19 you will make mistakes and you will learn from them. “I have no doubt he will be getting plenty of advice from the coaches and the manager.” Shaw, who has been suffering from another hamstring injury recently, sat out United’s 3-0 win over Spurs on Sunday. The win tightened United’s grip on fourth place and they now sit just two points behind second-placed Manchester City. Irwin was impressed by the performance against Spurs and he now hopes the team will produce similar performances against their top-four rivals in the coming weeks to secure the Champions League football which they have missed so dearly this term. “It was a big loss for us when we didn’t qualify for the Champions League. It’s been a strange year,” said Irwin, who was part of the team that won the trophy in the most dramatic fashion in 1999. “We have missed Champions League football, I have missed big teams coming here. “There are some big matches coming up in the round of 16. We are not involved and it’s not nice watching. “City go to Barcelona this week and we watch that and wish we were part of it because it’s the best club competition in the world.” :: Denis Irwin was speaking at the launch of bwin Manchester United Casino – the world’s first club-based real money casino app which is available now on Android from bwin.com/manutdcasino and will be available soon on iOS through the App Store.