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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

On the fringes at United, young attacker gives Louis van Gaal food for thought

James Wilson scored on his debut for the England Under-21s last night despite his lack of game-time this season.

Image: Nigel French/PA Wire/Press Association Images

IT WAS DURING Ryan Giggs’ temporary spell in charge of Manchester United at the tail-end of the 2013/2014 season that James Wilson arrived on the scene with a bang.

The youngster scored twice for United on his first appearance for the senior side in a 3-1 victory over Hull at Old Trafford and immediately carved out a reputation for himself. Many at the club raved about his innate talents.

And when Louis van Gaal arrived as manager, he liked what he saw in the attacker and had little hesitation in selling Danny Welbeck to Arsenal owing to the then-eighteen-year-old’s ability.

Wilson, inevitably, saw first-team opportunities quite limited as he battled with Robin van Persie, Falcao, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Angel di Maria for a place in attack. Still, he managed a number of high-profile starts and was included in the 3-0 win over Liverpool in December last year.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v Hull City - Old Trafford James Wilson wheels away after scoring on his senior debut for United against Hull in May of last year. Source: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

He managed just two goals in seventeen appearances overall but with United having allowed so many forwards leave in the last number of weeks, Wilson seemed set to get more chances to impress.

But, rumours did circulate close to deadline day that van Gaal was prepared to allow him leave on loan with a litany of top-flight sides prepared to bring him in.

With Javier Hernandez and Adnan Januzaj both moving to Germany though, van Gaal’s options in attack have been reduced further so Wilson is staying put for the time being.


And, with impeccable timing, Wilson has reminded van Gaal of his worth.

Last night, on his debut for the England Under-21s, Wilson entered the fray as a second-half substitute and scored the winning goal against the United States with twenty minutes to go.

Maybe such an impact will give him a chance of being involved in the United squad for the very first time this season.

Their next game is against Liverpool on 12th September.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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