Shola Shoretire has been named the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year for 2020/21.
The forward has been rewarded for his performances, primarily for the Under-23s, although he did make a couple of outings for Neil Ryan’s Under-18s. He joins an illustrious list of names of previous holders, which includes Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and, more recently, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.
Shola only turned 17 in February but was top scorer in Neil Wood’s Premier League 2 side with 10 goals.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer poses with award-winner Shola Shoretire.
The Academy product has already made his Premier League debut, in the game against his hometown club Newcastle United at Old Trafford in February, and also appeared in the Europa League clash with Real Sociedad.
“It means a lot to me and I’m sure it means a lot to my family as well,” he told us.
“Especially with the history of the award and the players who have won it before me. I feel very proud to have won it and very thankful to everyone who has helped me to achieve it.
“Looking at the trophy today and seeing Ryan Giggs has won it twice, Wes Brown, some of the recent ones as well like Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Angel Gomes, seeing them and seeing I’m on the same path that they were on as well, shows how well United are doing through the Academy and getting people into the first team.
“I think, at the start of the season, it was a big step for me, going from the Under-18s to the Under-23s. But I think, with my team-mates’ help in training and welcoming me into the team, that’s really helped me kick on with the Under-23s to have a successful season. So it’s also thanks to them that they’ve helped me progress into first-team training so I am very thankful to my team-mates in the Under-23s.”
“Shola has done excellently,” Under-23s lead coach Neil Wood said.
“I think if you look at the group of players, our average age has been around probably 18.5 to 18.7. So if you’re looking at the group of players, the Under-18s and the Under-23s group is almost together.
“So, in terms of that, Shola’s performances and what he’s achieved this season in getting a debut and playing for the first team, I think he’s done fantastic and thoroughly deserves his award.”
Watch one of Shola’s goals for the Under-23s – a bullet header against Spurs.
Under-18s lead coach Neil Ryan admitted there were also several stand-out candidates from his free-scoring Under-18s side but explained Shola was a worthy winner.
“I think he’s had a fantastic season really,” he said.
“When you’re looking at the young players coming through the club, most people forget Shola is a first-year scholar. He’s very, very young so to have the season he has had, he’s almost been in between three age-groups – the Under-18s at the start then he’s been a bedrock of the Under-23s most of the season but everyone knows he went up to the first team and has done great and been training with the first team.
“The decision is based on not just the team he plays with but the age group he’s in and I think it’s great credit to Shola that he’s had a great season. I’ve also got to give a lot of credit to a number of boys and really, as a coach, you want to give credit to them all. They’re all on different parts of the individual journey coming through the Academy and developing.
“There were some stand-out performers at times, a goalscorer like Charlie McNeill who has been getting a number of goals and headlines and every player has role within the team and squad. The centre-backs and midfielders, people like Martin Svidersky, who had a great season and was very selfless for the team by playing out of position a number of times. He did very well and I think every player in the squad has made really good improvements. That’s the most important thing.”