Football

James Wilson must be Manchester United’s next No. 9

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Speculation has been rife in recent weeks that Manchester United are poised to pay a club-record fee to sign Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani - a player they don’t need, at all. But instead of handing the coveted number nine shirt to the Uruguayan, United should save themselves £56 million by promoting James Wilson into the first team instead.

The 18-year-old burst onto the scene in Manchester United’s final home match of their ill-fated 2013/14 campaign, when interim manager Ryan Giggs - who himself burst on the scene many years earlier under the surname Wilson - sprang a surprise by selecting the teenager alongside his fellow youth teammate Tom Lawrence.

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It was Wilson who stole the show, scoring two goals on his full debut. The England Under-19 international justified Giggs’s selection with a memorable performance - a dream debut and a night that, whatever else he goes on to achieve in his career, he’ll never forget.

Manchester Senior Cup final performance

Judging by his performance against local rivals Manchester City in the Manchester Senior Cup final on Thursday night, though, he might go on to achieve the lot.

Wilson scored four fabulous goals to earn United a stunning 4-1 victory. It was Manchester City against Wilson and ten others - and the Citizens simply had no answer for the Staffordshire-born boy wonder.

Robin van Persie was one of the first players to publicly praise Wilson after his heroics against Hull City back in May. The Netherlands international would have been proud of the four finishes Wilson produced on Thursday night.

A couple of the goals were distinctly Van Persie-esque, in fact, while another bore striking similarities to a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.

Watch: Wilson's masterclass against Man City

'Van Persie with pace'

One Guardian journalist described him as ‘Van Persie with pace’ after his demolition job against City, which seemed a perfectly fair assessment to those who witnessed such an outstanding display of finishing at Hyde FC’s Ewen Fields.

No doubt Louis van Gaal will have since seen footage of Wilson’s masterclass. The Dutchman boasts an impressive track record of promoting gifted youth players and helping to maximise their potential; and Wilson - a potential future superstar - could become the veteran coach’s latest project.

Give him the number nine shirt

Wilson appears to possess all of the attributes to become a star for both club and country - and there’s no reason why Manchester United, a club famed for promoting talented youngsters into their first team, shouldn't hand the teenager the vacant number nine shirt right now.

Too much too soon? Perhaps. But this is a very special talent indeed. Giggs already knew this last season - and Van Gaal will know it now, too.

Rather than splashing out an astronomical transfer fee and obscene wages on a striker who might not even play every week, Van Gaal must do the right thing by continuing the tradition of Manchester United: handing Wilson the No. 9 shirt and giving this seriously talented youngster some valuable first-team experience throughout this season.

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Topics:
Edinson Cavani
Premier League
James Wilson
Arsenal
Manchester United
Football
Manchester City

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