United Briefing: The Academy wheel keeps turning

Monday 22 February 2021 08:00

Marcus Rashford is hoping Shola Shoretire’s senior Manchester United debut will help further Academy youngsters to make the step up to the first team from the Reds' famed youth conveyor belt.

It is five years on Thursday since Rashford exploded on the scene with two goals against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League at Old Trafford, and the Mancunian has since been followed by a string of products from United’s youth system.

Against Newcastle United, having scored our opener in the 3-1 Premier League win, Marcus came off after 89 minutes with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sending on 17-year-old Shoretire for his first-team debut.

Shoretire has been with the Reds since he was 10, having previously been spotted at the Wallsend Boys’ Club in Newcastle, the same organisation that provided an early platform for our former midfielder and now first-team coach Michael Carrick.

Rashford: We're learning every game Video

Rashford: We're learning every game

Marcus Rashford admits the Reds weren't perfect against Newcastle, but says the team is developing all the time...

Rashford was delighted to see Shoretire, who travelled to Turin for our Europa League tie with Real Sociedad last Thursday, make his senior bow against Newcastle.

“It is a top moment and he is even younger than I was [when I made my debut],” Marcus told MUTV.

“When young players do make their debut, eventually they actually kick on from that and hopefully we will see the same from him and we see him out on the pitch many more times.

“He is a player who has a lot of quality and the more he trains with us and plays with us, the more he’ll relax and show his quality.

“In the Academy they always emphasise following in the footsteps of others. It is something I always acknowledged as a young lad. I took it on and wanted to get into the first team and follow in the footsteps of other attacking players and Academy players who had made the step up into the first team.

“It is just a cycle and hopefully the ones who are his age now will see him playing and they will kick on and hopefully we get more and more of them.”

United had the game more or less wrapped up when Shoretire was given his debut late on, but it had been a difficult first half for the Reds, with the scores level at the break.

However, a second-half fightback from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men ensured we took all three points, with Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes adding their names to the scoring sheet. 

“We started a little bit slow. Our second-half performance was much better,” said Marcus.

“Our attitude was right in the dressing room at half-time and it was about coming out, performing well and having that confidence in ourselves that we could do that and win the game. In the second half we created more chances, and half chances.

“When you start slow in a game it can take anything to spark something to get a goal. When you do start slow you take any kind of goal just to get your team on the front foot and try and make us kick on and perform better.

“We did concede a sloppy goal after that, but you can’t fault the reaction in the second half. It was a good performance."

Highlights: United 3 Newcastle 1 Video

Highlights: United 3 Newcastle 1

Goals from Rashford, James and Fernandes helped the Reds beat Newcastle to reclaim second spot in the Premier League...


As mentioned above, the Reds recorded a superb victory over the Magpies, winning 3-1 at the Theatre of Dreams.

The pressure had been on Ole's men ahead of the game, with West Ham United, Leicester City and Manchester City all winning earlier in the day - and United's victory ensured that all four winners on Sunday ended the weekend in the top four.

The Reds are currently second and, like the Foxes, are 10 points behind Pep Guardiola's side.

Elsewhere, we confirmed on Sunday morning that some of our coaching staff are currently having to self isolate, meaning they missed the clash with Newcastle.

Watch Ole's post-match press conference Video

Watch Ole's post-match press conference

Watch as Solskjaer discusses COVID, Daniel James and the squad's mental strength, after the Newcastle victory...


We'll be bringing you further post-match reaction from Sunday's win, including a Match Quiz, Tunnel Insider and more stories, to go along with the interviews we've already had with Solskjaer, James and Shoretire.

This Week at United will be published, letting you know all the games, events and anniversaries happening over the next seven days, while at 17:00 GMT the latest UTD Podcast will be available on your favourite streaming service.

The busy schedule will continue into the evening when our Under-23s are in Premier League 2 action, away to Everton. The game will be shown live on MUTV from 19:00 GMT.