The midfielder became the latest academy starlet to graduate to senior status at Old Trafford, the latest in a promising trend seen in recent years
Marcus Rashford has paid tribute to debutant Shola Shoretire after the teenager made his first senior appearance for Manchester United on Sunday, saying the club’s willingness to hand youth stars opportunities was “in our DNA”.
Shoretire, wearing No. 74, became the latest academy product to graduate to senior status at Old Trafford when he was broughout on as a late second-half substitute by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the Red Devils’ 3-1 win over Newcastle in the Premier League.
The 17-year-old followed in the footsteps of several other young United starlets handed chances to shine in recent years on the bigger stages, including Rashford himself, and the striker was quick to both praise his team-mate and the club’s approach to handling junior talent.
What did Rashford say?
“It’s in our DNA, it’s what we do at Man United,” the England forward stated when asked post-match. “it’s important our kids know when they’re good enough, [they know] they’re old enough.
“Shola has been training with us now for a little while, and has done really well, [this] was the next step up.
“In the last transfer window we let a few players go out on loan, which made the path for him shorter and I’m sure he’ll remember his five or six minutes on the pitch tonight.”
Cherish this moment for ever little bro. Your family must be very proud ♥️ pic.twitter.com/hik2TPj3x0
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) February 21, 2021
The bigger picture
Shoretire’s maiden appearance comes just days after fellow youngster Amad Diallo made his bow in the Europa League round-of-32 against Real Sociedad following his arrival from Atalanta, making him the latest starlet to step up to first-team action.
Though the midfielder is unlikely to see signficant action going forward across the rest of the campaign, it still reflects a show of faith from Solskjaer, who has made no secret of his desire to promote from within at the club when possible.
James Garner, currently midway through a season-long spell with Nottingham Forest, Milton Keynes Dons-based Ethan Laird and Derby Country loanee Teden Mengi represent some of the other players the Norwegian has blooded since his arrival.
Though Shoretire has benefited from their absence to find a place on the United bench, he too will likely spend time next season out on a short-term basis with another club, as Solskjaer looks to ensure his players can flourish with senior experience.