Last summer Angel Gomes quit United to try his luck in Europe. While disappointing, the consolation in an academy like United’s is that there is a steady conveyor belt of top talent ready to step up.
One of those players is Shola Shoretire. The Mail reports United are acting to secure Shoretire’s long-term future at the club by signing him to his first professional deal.
Shoretire turned 17 two days ago and it is reported Shoretire has agreed to put pen to paper with United, despite interest from PSG, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Barcelona.
Top clubs interested for good reason
Shoretire first got onto the radar of United fans when he made his UEFA Youth League debut at the age of 14.
Last season he played a key role in the under-18s run to the FA Youth Cup semi-finals, and this season he has been an under-23 regular.
Stepping up to the under-23s has been a challenge for Shoretire. United’s promotion to the top tier division last season has increased the standard of opposition.
That has suited United, who believe in Shoretire and want to push him. After finding it tough at first, Shoretire is influencing games and making a difference.
This season so far he has scored two under-23 goals and has three assists. One of these goals he created was in the 6-3 win over rivals Liverpool at the weekend.
Shoretire is not the most eye-catching player in the team. That usually belongs to Hannibal Mejbri, Anthony Elanga or Arnau Puigmal, and yet he finds a way to keep the attack moving, get into dangerous positions, and his influence is growing.
He has been playing as a 16-year-old in an under-23 division and he does not look out of place. Now 17, Shoretire should continue to progress over the next 12 months. Adding that context around his performances shows why United are excited. Within a couple of years he could take tremendous leaps forward.
First team bound
One interesting line in The Mail‘s report claimed Shoretire could even make his first team debut this season.
That seems like a stretch, because no academy player has done so in 2020/21 aside from Dean Henderson, who has taken the long route to the step up via several seasons out on loan.
Shoretire did train with the first team in December and so Solskjaer will be well aware of what he might be able to offer. United’s desire to keep testing and pushing him will be key to this.
It’s tough when the standard in the first team is so high. Even Jesse Lingard couldn’t get a game and had to leave on loan.
Shoretire is a fascinating young player because he can play in a variety of attacking roles. This season for the under-23s he has featured on the right wing, on the left, centrally, and even up front. It’s too early to say where his best position will ultimately be.
While a debut this season seems to be pushing it, there would be no surprise if Shoretire makes the breakthrough in 2021/22. He is making good progress and tying him to a new deal could be significant. He is a jewel in the club’s academy United would have been desperate not to lose.
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