Shola Shoretire provided an assist at the weekend in Manchester United’s first pre-season game. While just a friendly, it was the first time he has had a proper opportunity in a first team shirt to show what he can do and he seized it, setting up the winning goal.
The teenager made his United debut earlier this year, becoming the club’s seventh youngest player of all time. In his three competitive first team appearances he has 24 minutes of action, very limited opportunity, but encouraging all the same.
Shoretire, 17, scored 10 goals and provided six assists at under-23 level last season from 21 games in total.
He averaged a goal or assist every 0.72 games, close to a rate of a goal contribution a game. For a player who began last season aged just 16, playing in the top flight of English under-23 football, this was a tremendous record.
Ahead of the game
Shoretire is a rising star through United’s ranks and there has been no holding him back at any level. The first team is unlikely to be different.
He made his UEFA Youth League debut in 2018, an under-19s competition, at the age of just 14. His FA Youth Cup debut for the under-18s came at the end of 2019 when he was 15. Last season he was a starting regular for the under-23s at 16, and he was playing for United’s first team just after turning 17. He was in United’s Europa League final squad at the age of 17, which shows how highly he is regarded.
United have clearly been keen to push Shoretire and that is due to his talent. He seized his opportunities last season, and at the weekend he showed again what he is capable of with a defence splitting pass for Facundo Pellistri to score.
Of course it is right not to get carried away after one pre-season friendly, and that could be all Shoretire contributes this summer, but his track record, pointed to above, demonstrates that he is a rare talent.
Heading to the top
Shoretire has struck up an instant connection with both Pellistri and Amad. Pellistri’s one assist last season for the under-23s came for Shoretire, while in one of Amad’s appearances, he provided three assists in a single game to help Shoretire bag a hat-trick.
All of these goals demonstrated one of Shoretire’s impressive traits, an ability to arrive in the box at the right time to score. But he’s so much more than that.
Shoretire can be United’s answer to City star Phil Foden. He can play in multiple positions across the front four, and is just as likely to create a goal as he is score one. It won’t be a surprise to see him representing England in a couple of years either if he continues his progress at United.
One of the best moves United made last year was to lock Shoretire into a new contract. The Mail reported that Bayern Munich, Juventus, PSG, and Barcelona had all wanted to sign him. His deal runs until 2023 and United have an option to extend by a further year. If his first team rise continues, he will likely be offered a new one too before long.
Even if there is no designated first team path for Shoretire with all the established talent in front of him, expect him to make his way through anyway. It’s what he has done so far throughout his blossoming career.
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