Meet Shola Shoretire, the youngest player to play for Man United in a European game

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Shola Shoretire is now the youngest player to ever play for Manchester United in a European competition. He made the record on Thursday, February 25, 2021, when he was introduced into United’s second leg match in the Europa League round of 32 against Real Sociedad.

The coach of Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought in Shola Shoretire in the second half of the Europa League match to replace Mason Greenwood. His introduction into the game marked the end of the record Norman Whiteside set in 1982.

Shola Shoretire coming on for Mason Greenwood.
Shola Shoretire coming on for Mason Greenwood.

Before the Europa League match against Real Sociedad, Norman was the youngest player to play for United in the European League. He made the record when he was 17 years and 131 days old. He went on to make 200 appearances in all competitions before he left Manchester United.

Thirty-nine years later, Shola Shoretire broke Whiteside’s record when he was 17 years and 23 days old in United’s 0-0 draw against Real Sociedad on Thursday. The draw was enough to scale United through to the next round of the Europa League, thanks to their 4-0 win in the first leg of the tie.

Reacting to his achievement, Shoretire tweeted: “What a feeling to make my European debut! To become United’s youngest ever player in Europe is an incredible honor and a proud moment for me and my family! On to the next round #MUFC”

While the manager of Manchester United said: “Shola’s got some skills, attributes that we think are going to make him a very good player here.

“It’s a platform of course tonight – just 15 minutes – so it’s something to build on, something for him to remember at Old Trafford. If the fans had been here, he would have enjoyed it more because they give you so much more energy. Football is strange at the moment, it is different, but I’m sure all the fans will see him later on.”

Solskjaer also told BT Sport that: “He’s got some skills and attributes that we think are going to make a very good player here. It’s a platform, of course, tonight, just 15 minutes. It’s something to build on, something to remember for him at Old Trafford.

“But then again, with the fans, he would have enjoyed it more because they give you so much more energy than football at the moment. It is strange, it is different, but I’m sure all the fans will see him later on.”

Who is Shola Shoretire?

Shola Shoretire was born on 2 February 2004 in Nigeria and later moved to the United Kingdom at a very tender age. While in the UK, he trained with Wallsend Boys Club based in Newcastle before he joined Manchester United football academy when he was 9-year-old.

At the time, he continued with his education while he continued to develop his football skills. His performance in Manchester United’s youth team attracted the attention of FC Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain, and Bayern Munich last season but the winger decided to remain at Manchester United.

Though he plays as a winger, his ability to dribble has always tempted some football fans to compare him to Nigerian football legend Jay-Jay Okocha.

However, Shola Shoretire is reportedly looking up to the likes of Marcus Rashford and Greenwood who were also products of United’s academy and broke into the club’s senior team due to their impeccable football talent.

Shola made his first appearance for Manchester United on 21 February 2021 as an 88th-minute substitute for Marcus Rashford in a 3–1 home Premier League win over Newcastle United. In less than four days, he went on to play against Real Sociedad in the Europa League and became United’s youngest player to do so.

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