The revolution to be set in motion by Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United could not only offer the perfect opportunity for James Wilson, the 18-year-old starlet from Biddulph, to establish himself in United's squad but, ultimately, save the club tens of millions.
A week ago, in the humble surroundings of Ewan Fields, Hyde, in front of nearly 3,500 fans, a competitive U21 game between Manchester United and neighbours City was lit up by an outstanding four-goal performance by James Wilson.
Those, like me, who were fortunate enough to see his accomplished display first hand, were in no doubt that we had seen a future England striker. Even the City fans were staggered by how he turned the game singled handed, just before half-time, with an electrifying run from the half way line followed by a brilliant finish.
The United youngsters, inspired by Wilson's goal, dominated the second half, with Wilson going on to score an additional hat-trick, giving a terrific display of all-round centre forward play.
Wilson has all the attributes to be a top class striker, possessing an electric burst of pace, very good hold-up play, two good feet and accurate and cool finishing. At 5' 11'' he has the ability to score his fair share of headed goals and, if he can develop his upper body strength, will become the finished article sooner rather than later.
Wilson has succeeded at every age level for club and country, most recently scoring two goals on his first team debut against Hull City. He has debuted for Manchester United and England, at all levels, two years younger than the age group. For example last season, at just seventeen, he scored on his debut for the England U19s and, for United, as a 16 year old, he scored five goals against Newcastle United U18s.
A close examination of some of the game's greatest talents, Rooney, Gerrard, Charlton, Best and Ronaldo, for example, show that they establish themselves as teenagers. It could already be that Van Gaal has spotted Wilson's potential and will be willing to give him his chance this coming season and resist sending him out on loan.
One of the signs of his faith in Wilson could be the numerous reports that he is willing to let Javier Hernandez leave the club. The new system requires the deployment of two strikers, which will mean four strikers will be needed to cover injuries and loss of form. The former scenario is the most likely with Van Persie and Welbeck's injury record a cause for concern. This would open the door for Wilson as the fourth striker and provide him, at least, with numerous substitute opportunities and domestic cup appearances.
There have been widespread reports over the last few months of a major move by United for Uruguay striker Edison Cavani, which would cost in excess of £50 million. Van Gaal's track record in promoting young talent would tend to suggest that Wilson will be given his chance. That, potentially, will save United tens of millions and be great news for both club and country.
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