'Shearer helped get me into football'
Shola Shoretire appreciates how Newcastle played a part in his football upbringing and will always be special to him, particularly after making his Premier League debut against the Magpies.
The Manchester United youngster was born on Tyneside and heard about the legend of Alan Shearer while growing up.
Although Shoretire was only two when the former England captain retired, he nominated the prolific striker, along with a couple of all-time greats, when discussing his inspirations with us in an exclusive interview, conducted at the end of last season.
“But then I think, playing for Newcastle, a bit before my time, but Alan Shearer. He is the legend up there in Newcastle for what he’s done for the club. Hearing his stories and the history of the club, that is what got me into playing football in Newcastle.”
As fate would have it, his dream debut for the Reds at senior level came in the 3-1 win over Newcastle in February, and it was an occasion the teenager will never forget.
“It was an unbelievable feeling," he recalled. "Sitting on the bench and just being part of the squad. Then when I was called to come onto the pitch, nothing going through my head. I didn’t know what to think. To get my first game against Newcastle, it meant a lot to me because of the journey I have had from Newcastle to Manchester. To be playing against them was really good.”
It is three years now since Shoretire accompanied the Academy squad as a schoolboy for a summer camp in Austria. It provided the sort of education that will prove invaluable should he be part of the senior pre-season work this time around.
However, he feels he has been able to make the leap into the first-team sessions because of the support of the coaching staff and his team-mates.
“It definitely helps you see what life is like as a professional and doing intense days of training at a young age," he said of the Austrian experience. "I think it helps you mature quite quickly. Especially for me being one of the youngest there, learning from the older boys was good experience. The first team obviously go away for pre-season and that’s something I’ll be looking forward to, if I’m selected to go. I think I’ve got the practice in already in the young age groups and that experience so I should be ready.
“I think for some people, some young lads going up to the first team, they can be quite nervous. You know they don’t really know people but everyone here was so welcoming. The manager and also I think it helps that we’ve got ex-players from the club back with us in the coaching staff.
“Everyone welcomed me into the team coming up and it just felt like I’ve been there a long time. I think that has really helped me.”
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