Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tipped Shola Shoretire for a bright future after the 17-year-old came on against Real Sociedad and became Manchester United’s youngest-ever player in European competition.
Having secured a surprisingly comprehensive 4-0 win in last week’s first leg in Turin, the Red Devils knew progress from the round of 32 was all but assured heading into the return fixture at Old Trafford.
United and Sociedad played out a forgettable 0-0 draw in the second leg, but Thursday’s match will go down in the history books after Shoretire’s record-breaking late introduction.
Having made his debut as a substitute in Sunday’s league win against Newcastle, he replaced Norman Whiteside as the youngest player to represent United in European competition by coming on aged 17 years 23 days.
‘Shola is going to be a good player for us and sometimes you need to test them against good players,’ Solskjaer said. ‘We knew Real Sociedad are a good team with good individuals and they press.
‘We felt today Amad (Diallo) – he had to come on, of course, Dan (James) had to come off – and Shola, the two of them will need these little introductions to this type of level.
‘He’s a young kid that we believe in. Great attitude. You can see the shape of him. We think physically he’ll be an athlete and technically very, very good. Makes good decisions.
‘So, of course we’re going to gradually feed him into this team and, you know, he’s grounded, got his feet firmly on the ground and he works really hard in training. Very likeable boy that we hope we can see loads of in the future.’
It was a memorable moment towards the end of a largely forgettable second leg.
Sociedad skipper Mikel Oyarzabal missed an early penalty before stand-in United captain Bruno Fernandes hit the crossbar, with Modibo Sagnan hitting the woodwork shortly after half-time.