Manchester United have an illustrious history when it comes to producing world-class homegrown talent, and the next superstar could be set to come off their conveyor belt in the near future.
Shola Shoretire forced himself into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team plans towards the end of last season, becoming the Red Devils’ seventh youngest player of all time when he made his debut against Newcastle United.
His two-minute cameo in the 3-1 victory over the Magpies back in February 2021 got people excited over the versatile forward’s future, with former United academy graduate Luke Chadwick amongst his admirers.
“He (Shoretire) is a hugely talented player,” said Chadwick. “I watched him play in the youth team as an Under-16 player, he was so clever – fantastic awareness knows how to play on the half-turn, can see a pass as well.
“He’s so sharp in his mind and even if he doesn’t start a lot of matches yet, he can come on in games and make an impact.”
And Shoretire’s taste of senior football didn’t stop there. Solskjaer tipped the 17-year-old for a bright future after he came on against Real Sociedad in the Europa League, becoming United’s youngest-ever player in European competition.
Just four days after his substitute showing versus Newcastle, he broke Norman Whiteside’s record after entering the field of play at just 17 years 23 days old.
“Shola is going to be a good player for us and sometimes you need to test them against good players,” Solskjaer said. “We knew Real Sociedad are a good team with good individuals and they press.
“We felt today Amad (Diallo) – he had to come on, of course, Dan (James) had to come off – and Shola, the two of them will need these little introductions to this type of level.
“He’s a young kid that we believe in. Great attitude. You can see the shape of him. We think physically he’ll be an athlete and technically very, very good. Makes good decisions.”
Shoretire only received one more appearance in the senior setup last term, but it was a deserved reward for a fabulous campaign at youth level, with the England U19 international bagging ten goals and providing five assists in 24 appearances.
The diminutive star is yet to feature in a matchday squad for Solskjaer’s struggling side this term, but he’s carried his eye-catching form into 2021/22 nonetheless.
A total of eight goal contributions in 15 outings has shown the teenager is continuing to develop his skills, and although Amad Diallo for a whopping £19m, it could well be Shoretire who has the brightest future.
Only time will tell if the local lad can make the grade at his boyhood club, but it certainly appears to be a matter of when rather than if he becomes a regular name on Solskjaer’s teamsheet.