Shola Shoretire turns 18 and has a big 12 months ahead as he steps up to first team training

Shola Shoretire celebrated his 18th birthday this week and is hoping to use the next year to really kick on.

It was at the end of February 2021 that Shoretire made his Manchester United debut, where he became the club’s seventh youngest player of all time.

Since then Shoretire made a handful of substitute appearances and also starred in pre-season. This year he has been back with the under-23s.

Shoretire has been the club’s most consistent player at youth level this season, scoring seven goals and providing six assists in all competitions.

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Always ahead of schedule

Shoretire has been ahead of schedule his whole career. He made his UEFA Youth League debut at 14, played and scored for United’s under-23s at 16, and made his first team debut at 17.

The next 12 months is crucial for Shoretire to continue his development. He made his Champions League debut late last year, but that was his only game so far this season. He has continued to play very well at all levels, he just has not made the next step to becoming a first team regular.

It’s not necessarily his fault either. Shoretire showed in pre-season how good he is, when he provided two assists for the first team in three matches, each as a substitute.

He just has not had the opportunities, and that falls on the crowded squad at United. Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata continue to block his path, and really, United should have moved both of them on last summer, let alone this recent January. Lingard at least won’t be available against Middlesbrough on Friday.

Anthony Elanga’s rise to the first team gives Shoretire hope he can do the same, regardless of the competition around him.

Shoretire’s inclusion in first team training for the FA Cup game against Middlesbrough gives him a bit of fresh hope of a late season breakthrough. Five substitutes can be used in the fixture and it is a great opportunity for him to make a first team appearance for the first time in 2022.

The attacking midfielder will also play a key role in Manchester United’s bid to win the UEFA Youth League later this season after reaching the knockout rounds as group winners.

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Big summer ahead

With Lingard and Mata due to leave, Shoretire has a great chance this summer to make an impression and establish himself as a first team regular, impressing a new boss.

That’s why it is really important he picks up some momentum between now and then and hits the ground running, possibly with a recommendation from Rangnick.

An option of a loan move will also be on the table in the summer, or next January. It’s important United do this for Shoretire if he is not a first team regular, to keep his development pointing in the right direction.

Shoretire is a special talent, and United must not let him get to 19 or 20 without a proper opportunity one way or another. The next year should be a really big one for the teenager.

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