Shola Shoretire says that he idolises Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, two Manchester United academy graduates that he hopes to emulate by establishing himself in the first-team squad.
Three days later, however, he was making his first-team debut after he was introduced in the 89th minute of a 3-1 win over Newcastle United for Marcus Rashford, who had previously opened the scoring with a brilliant solo goal.
The 17-year-old is the latest in a long line of United academy graduates to break into the senior set-up, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer afterwards saying giving young players is a part of the club’s DNA.
And speaking to the official club website after his brief cameo, Shoretire heralded two current first-teamers who hail from the United academy as idols for him and the other young prospects at the club.
“Everyone in the Academy idolises Marcus [Rashford] and Mason [Greenwood]. They have gone through the path we want to follow. I can learn from them.”
On his general feelings on making his debut, Shoretire added: “It feels great. It is such a proud moment for me and my family. I’ve worked so hard to get here and my mum and my dad.
“I have been at the club since I was 10 and it is a dream come true to be playing for the biggest club in the world.”
“Obviously, it is what I want to do now. Doing the thing that I love, playing football for the best club in the world, and I want to carry on.”
Both Rashford and Greenwood have established themselves as key components in Solskjaer’s first-team set-up in recent years.
Rashford is now a key player, while Greenwood is a regular starter who scored 10 Premier League goals last season.
And Solskjaer says that Shoretire deserves to make the step up.
“Shola has been training with us now for a while and he’s done really well. It was the next step up for him,” he explained.
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Manchester United made heavy weather of their 3-1 win over Newcastle in the Premier League, eventually getting the job done at Old Trafford.
Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes were on the scoresheet as United got back to winning ways in the league. They face Real Sociedad on Thursday, after hammering the Spanish side 4-0 in their Europa League first leg.
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“We felt, of course in the transfer window last time, 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.”
On United’s commitment to youth development, the United boss added: “It’s in our DNA, it’s what we do at Man United and it’s important that our kids know that when they’re good enough, they’re old enough.”
With United 4-1 up going into the second leg, Shoretire, alongside Amad, who made his first-team debut on Thursday, could feature against Real Sociedad in midweek.