It appears Manchester United can’t enough of Nigerian players as the Red Devils signed up exciting teenage prospect Shola Shoretire to a new long-term contract on Wednesday.
Sixteen-year-old Shoretire whose name points to a Yoruba heritage was already on the books of the Old Trafford side as a scholar but with his stunning performances attracting interest from a host of clubs, the 20-times English champions moved to secure him for the long-term.
It is understood that the England-born teenage forward who is eligible to represent Nigeria has agreed a pre-contract to turn professional from July 1.
Shoretire joins former United academy player Tosin Kehinde and Odion Ighalo as the only Nigerian players to have signed professional contracts with the Old Trafford club.
Although Ighalo’s deal is set to run out in the summer, there are reports that United are looking at signing the first-ever Nigerian to play and score for the club permanently in the summer.
United could conceivably have two Nigerians on their books for next season and with the prodigious Shoretire developing at a frightening pace, he could follow the former Super Eagles striker as the second Nigerian to play for United’s first team.
Shoretire, who joined the club at the age of 10 in 2014 has blossomed beautifully under the tutelage of United head of first-team development Nicky Butt and the club expects great things of him in the future.
He was included in the academy’s pre-season tour squad that travelled to Austria in 2018 when he was only 14 highlighting the regard in which he is held by the Red Devils.
The player who is comfortable on the wing or upfront has been described as an ‘exceptional’ talent and featured at the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland at the age of 13 in 2017.
He also became the youngest debutant in the Uefa Youth League at 14 years and 314 days at Valencia last season and scored at Old Trafford for the first time last week in the Under-18s’ 2-1 FA Youth Cup quarter-final win over Wigan Athletic.
His performances have excited Under-18 coach Neil Ryan who has likened the diminutive forward’s temperament to United academy graduates Marcus Rashford and Scot McTominay who have gone on to establish themselves as first-team mainstays.
“When you see the professionalism of the likes of Marcus Rashford, he’s the shining example. Scott McTominay, so on. These boys are products of the academy and the staff who work with them. They are our examples.
“Good players can enjoy the big stage. [Shoretire] is a really exciting player. He’s evolving and developing, can play a number of different positions, he showed a great maturity,” Ryan said.