Shola Shoretire joined Manchester United’s academy when he was nine-years-old, making the move from Newcastle United’s youth team, and now that he’s 17 has three appearances for the first team. He caught the eye of United fans some time ago, with him often representing the club at youth level in age categories well above his own. In December 2018, aged 14, he became the youngest player ever to feature in the UEFA Youth League.
Speaking to the official site about his debut against Newcastle back in February earlier this year, Shoretire talked of what it meant to him, especially when playing against his former club.
It was an unbelievable feeling. Sitting on the bench and just being part of the squad. Then when I was called to come onto the pitch, nothing going through my head. I didn’t know what to think. To get my first game against Newcastle, it meant a lot to me because of the journey I have had from Newcastle to Manchester. To be playing against them was really good.
While not the most popular figure at United, Alan Shearer was a hero for Shoretire when he was growing up in the North East. Harry Kane has already outscored Shearer for England and Unibet US has odds on whether he’ll score two more goals before the end of Euro 2020 to overtake Michael Owen.
Shoretire has reflected on the impact Shearer had on his desire to start playing football.
I was very young when I was in Newcastle. But the people that I looked up to were my favourite players, Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho. I think I have tried to make my game like theirs, quite technical and a good all-round player. But then I think, playing for Newcastle, a bit before my time, but Alan Shearer. He is the legend up there in Newcastle for what he’s done for the club. Hearing his stories and the history of the club, that is what got me into playing football in Newcastle.
Shoretire has been involved in first team training and is full of praise for the coaches and his teammates for helping him settle so quickly in the first team squad. He believes how welcoming they are has had an impact on the lack of nerves he feels.
It definitely helps you see what life is like as a professional and doing intense days of training at a young age. I think it helps you mature quite quickly. Especially for me being one of the youngest there, learning from the older boys was good experience. The first team obviously go away for pre-season and that’s something I’ll be looking forward to, if I’m selected to go. I think I’ve got the practice in already in the young age groups and that experience so I should be ready.
I think for some people, some young lads going up to the first team, they can be quite nervous. You know they don’t really know people but everyone here was so welcoming. The manager and also I think it helps that we’ve got ex-players from the club back with us in the coaching staff. Everyone welcomed me into the team coming up and it just felt like I’ve been there a long time. I think that has really helped me.