The man tipped by many to become Manchester United and England’s future number nine, just what is so special about James Wilson? His is a name on the lips of many United fans right now and with reason.
Ever since Wilson scored a memorable debut brace against Hull City at the back end of last season, he has been lined up as the club's next homegrown star striker.
However, followers of the club’s youth sides had known about his precocious talent for quite a while before then after outstanding form for the U18 and U21 sides in recent times.
Wilson has been at United for many years, having been scouted and recruited by the club at the tender age of seven. Always highlighted as a potential star of the future, the young Englishman really burst onto the scene in 2012/13 for the U18’s.
He failed to score in his first four games of the season before scoring five in his fifth v Newcastle – the second most number of goals scored by a Manchester United player in one match at any level during the Sir Alex Ferguson regime.
Reputation for clinical finishing
With confidence at an all-time high, he then scored five in his next four to earn himself his first professional contract at the age of 17. Despite injury problems keeping him put for extended spells, he still finished as the U18’s top goal scorer that season, scoring 14 goals in 18 league appearances.
Following more impressive form for the U18’s at the start of the 2013/14 season, he was then moved up to the U-21 side for the second half of the season. Not fazed by the step-up, Wilson continued his prolific goal scoring at a higher level.
A hat-trick v Wolves eventually led to David Moyes handing him his first-team debut in a 4-0 away win at Newcastle United. Later on he would appear for the senior side again, this time under Ryan Giggs, as he bagged two poacher's efforts goals against Hull City at Old Trafford. The stuff of dreams!
More to Wilson's game
Wilson is so much more than just a fantastic finisher and poacher though. His touch, speed and build-up play is highly impressive. If you watch highlights of him in youth team action at United, he scored many wonder goals from outside the area or from weaving runs from deep.
He is far from your traditional centre forward and his ability to get the ball before dribbling past players and burning defenders with his raw speed, bears hall marks of a young Michael Owen. He also likes to join up and link play, bagging plenty of assists. Although it his ruthlessness and ability to sniff out a goal which is so impressive.
The placement, coolness and intelligence of his finishes are that of a true goal scorer. He is extremely clinical and will always get you goals of any kind. It would also appear that the lad has a good mentality. He puts his head down and works hard, doing whatever the manager asks of him. He is a true team player who will run all day and do his job for the side. His progressive rise up the Manchester United ladder hasn’t worried him at all, he’s just gone out and scored with little proof of nerves on any stage put in front of him.
Falcao purchase could well be scrapped
The big question at a top Premier League club is will he be given enough opportunities in the first team? However with Van Gaal as coach (a lover of working with youth) and Manchester United the club (also a lover of promoting home grown talent).
I believe that he will get a chance to progress as a player and hopefully become a key man for the 20 times champions of England. Furthermore, with increasing question marks being raised of the aging Robin Van Persie after a poor start to the season and Falcao unlikely to stay beyond his loan spell due to money and injury hindrances.
The strikers spot could well be Wilson’s to claim in the not too distant future at Old Trafford. Van Gaal also likes him and that has been clear to see in the way he has been given decent game time so far this campaign by the Dutchman.
There were even rumours that he sold Danny Welbeck to prevent halting the progress of the youngster from Staffordshire. The sky should be the limit for James Wilson but the path to fame and success is a long and sometimes bumpy one. However I really do believe he has every chance of making it and perhaps even progressing into a United and England legend one day. Although for now he should just keep his head down and keep working hard, as he has always done!