Shola Shoretire’s fantastic form for the under-23s at the start of 2021 saw him called into the first team squad.
Shoretire made his Premier League debut for United in February against Newcastle, and a Europa League bow against Real Sociedad followed.
He has continued to train with the first team, while also dropping down to the under-23s.
What was missing from Shoretire’s performances over the past few weeks, were the decisive moments for the under-23s, which saw him called up to the senior squad in the first place.
This changed on Friday night, when Shoretire inspired United to a 4-2 win over Chelsea.
Shoretire found the under-23s tricky earlier in the season. He was just 16 when the season kicked off, after all.
So he will have games which pass him by. And there are other matches where he is able to turn them almost single-handedly.
The match with Chelsea was a case in point. He scored two goals just before half-time to put United 2-1 up, changing the outlook of the game for the second half.
This was a big moment for Shoretire, his first goals since his first team call-up in February. It can be tricky for players, mentally, to transition between squads back and forth, especially for one who is just 17.
A top prospect
This was a reminder to United why Shoretire is so special. He has eight goals now for the under-23s.
Only striker Joe Hugill (10) and winger Anthony Elanga (9) have more this season.
Shoretire also has three assists to his name too. Only two under-23 players, Alvaro Fernandez (5) and Hannibal Mejbri (7) have more.
Shoretire was on the losing side as United were thumped by Chelsea 6-1 back in December. This time he was the key man as United beat the Blues 4-2.
In the recent FA Youth Cup defeat to Liverpool, Shoretire missed an injury time chance to equalise after taking a touch too many inside the box. Against Chelsea he showed he had learned, by being absolutely clinical when he got a sight of goal.
These results help demonstrate the growth Shoretire has made over the season.
He still has a long way to go, but there is quite clearly a reason why United are so excited about his potential, and it was plain to see on Friday night.
If the first team can wrap up Champions League qualification early, there could be some more first team minutes left for him this season.
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