Shola Shoretire: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says 17-year-old will play in front of Man Utd fans

Solskjaer brought on Shoretire in the second half of United's 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad on, meaning the youngster (17y 23d) became their youngest-ever player in Europe; Solskjaer would like to face former side Molde in Europa League last 16

Shola Shoretire
Image: Shola Shoretire has a bright future ahead of him at Man Utd, says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Shola Shoretire has a bright future and will play in front of Man Utd's fans, says manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, after becoming their youngest-ever player in European competition.

Solskjaer brought on Shoretire in the second half of United's 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad on Thursday, with his side going through 4-0 on aggregate, putting the youngster (17y 23d) ahead of Norman Whiteside (17y 131d), Mason Greenwood (17y 156d) and Gary Neville (17y 211d).

The United boss says Shoretire has his feet on the ground, with a bright future ahead of him, predicting he will get more playing time when fans eventually return to Old Trafford.

"He's a young kid we believe in," Solskjaer said. "He's got a great attitude, he's an athlete, technically very, very good and makes good decisions. We want to gradually feed him into this team. He's got his feet firmly on the ground hopefully we'll see loads of in the future."

Shola Shoretire
Image: Shoretire became Man Utd's youngest-ever player in Europe on Thursday

He also told BT Sport: "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."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 0:48
Manchester United are safely through to the last-16 of the Europa League - and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thinks the 0-0 second-leg draw with Real Sociedad shows just how well his side did to win the first leg 4-0

Asked if the memory of three semi-final defeats last season, and another this season, was fuelling his players this time around, Manchester United boss Solskjaer told BT Sport: "Yes, of course. You remember the defeats more so than the wins, and especially the semi-finals.

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"You're so close to the final and the big stage and we had three of them - we've already had one this season - so this group feels hurt, of course, and they want to go further.

"We failed in three semi-finals, we want to do better and improve, the culture is really improving.

"Now until the international break we've got seven games, Chelsea, Leicester, City, so massive games West Ham, too Who knows who we draw, so these three and a bit weeks now are going to be massive for us. But we're in a good place, confidence is good, hopefully we get a few players back in."

With several intriguing opponents awaiting the last 16 - including Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's former club Molde, or one of three other British sides in Tottenham, Rangers and Arsenal - all eyes turn to the draw at midday on Friday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd
Image: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would like to face his former side Molde in the last 16

Solskjaer would like to face his former side, who beat Hoffenheim 5-3 on aggregate to reach the last 16.

"Of course I'd like to meet Molde. I spoke to Erling [Moe - manager] this morning and they had loads of injuries, some illness, the stage of the season they're at, that must be the performance of the round to go through against Hoffenheim. Absolutely exceptional.

"I'm so proud of Erling and the boys. If we play them we know it's going to be difficult. Unfortunately if we draw them it's not going to be in Norway. From a sporting point of view, I'd rather take someone else."

Analysis: Man Utd show depth ahead of vital run

Amad Diallo made his home debut as a second-half substitute
Image: Amad Diallo made his home debut as a second-half substitute

Sky Sports' Gerard Brand in Hits & Misses:

As if it has not been said enough, fitness and fatigue will continue to play a big part in the remainder of the season.

A few eyebrows were raised at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team selection on Thursday evening for a tie Manchester United had complete control of the tie - "We're 4-0 up..." was actually trending on Twitter before kick-off - as United made just four changes from the side that beat Newcastle in the Premier League, including a start for star man Bruno Fernandes.

But Solskjaer made full use of the five-subs rule in Europe, including three at half-time, as United showed the depth in their squad goes beyond their registered Premier League players.

Shola Shoretire became their youngest-ever player in European competition having turned 17 just 23 days ago, while Amad Diallo, just 18, made his Old Trafford debut.

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In fact, five out of the 10 outfield players to finish the game were academy graduates as United's proud tradition of bringing through youth continues. But interestingly, Marcus Rashford, one of those graduates, became the first Premier League player to make 40 appearances this season in all competitions, showing the need to rotate.

Solskjaer will continue to take this competition seriously after three "hurtful" semi-final defeats in just eight months, but the opportunity to prioritise one over the other shows no sign of appearing any time soon.

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United's next seven games over three-and-a-half weeks before the international break - including Premier League games against Chelsea, Man City and West Ham, plus the Europa League last 16 two-legger and Leicester in the FA Cup last eight - may define their season.
Gerard Brand

When is the last 16 draw?

The draw will take place at midday on Friday, February 26 in Nyon's House of European Football at 12pm UK time. You will be able to follow it across Sky Sports' platforms.

What's next?

Man Utd now go to Chelsea in the Premier League, live on Super Sunday at 4.30pm on Sky Sports Premier League, followed by a trip to Crystal Palace on Wednesday, also on Sky Sports Premier League at 8.15pm.

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