Neil Ryan, who coached for Manchester United’s various youth levels for 19 years, believes that Erik ten Hag should look at Nigerian born Shola Shoretire as an attacking option.

Ryan joined United in 2003 as the Under 11s coach and progressed his way up the ages.

He’s had coaching roles for the U16, U18 and U23 squads before the club announced that he would be leaving to take up a similar role for the England set up.

During his 19 years at the club Ryan would work with 39 youngsters who would go on to make a senior appearance for United with some examples being, Scott McTominay, Anthony Elanga and a more recent debutante Shola Shoretire.

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Neil Ryan reminisces on his time at United and what it was like to end a 19 year long chapter of his life.

The 48-year-old shared anecdotal stories about several young players who he has crossed paths with and he believes that Shoretire has what it takes to join Erik ten Hag’s first team.

The attacking youngster has a bright future ahead of him and this is already being seen by the 18-year-old signing for Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, to be a part of Polaris Sport.

The fact that an agent of Mendes’ status is interested in the young Englishman shows just how promising he is.

Ryan talked at length about Shoretire, saying:

“He is technically gifted, he is quite ruthless and tough as a boy, got a good mentality, for me personally never one problem in the five, six years I worked with him.”

He goes on to say how the winger’s mindset has helped him progress through the ranks quickly.

“He has an amazing maturity for such a young lad, he has always been thrust into the older age groups. Not always every decision to do that based purely on what the coach thinks. A lot of different factors have come into that, almost fast-tracked at times.”

Unfortunately for United’s no. 47 his rapid rise to the first team meant that he wasn’t a part of the Youth Cup winning side which is something that his former coach feels like he missed out on.

“I think it could have been balanced better; have him in his own age at certain times. It would have been nice for him to be involved in the Youth Cup last year, he has missed out on some big moments there.”

Shola Shoretire will face strong competition trying to get into the starting XI with United already being saturated with wingers, however, with it being reported that U23 players trained with the first team for some time in Erik ten Hag’s first session in charge, then it could be a smooth transition into regular football at the senior level.


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