James Wilson suffered a dead-leg that forced him off the pitch last night during Manchester United U21’s clash with Sunderland.
According to information in The Guardian the young forward was hauled off in the 39th minute of the game after sustaining the injury at the Stadium of Light, and has given Louis van Gaal an injury scare a result.
Wilson at United
The Dutchman has used Wilson as one of his four first-team strikers this campaign, having gotten rid of both Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez - the latter on a loan deal - at the beginning of the season.
With Wayne Rooney having occupied a position in midfield recently, Robin van Persie last seen hobbling out of the Liberty Stadium with his foot in a protective boot at the weekend and Radamel Falcao hardly in pristine form it could spell trouble, and if Wilson is unavailable for the clash against Sunderland at home this coming Saturday Van Gaal’s options will be short.
The 19-year-old gives United a different option with his pace up top, and his emergence as a regular this term - he’s made 16 appearances in all competitions - lends credence to the theory that Van Gaal wants him as an asset for the future. The youngster has come on in bounds since making his debut during the last game of last season, a game in which he scored two goals as United bested Hull City.
Options for the weekend
Of course if Wilson is out then Van Gaal may be forced to push Rooney into his more natural position as a striker. The 63-year-old has come under fire recently for his decision to use the England captain in a deeper capacity, with many feeling that the former-Everton star is most effective when deployed as a spear-head in the attack, not in a supporting role.
Another opportunity that could arise focuses on Falcao, who may be given his last chance to shine at Old Trafford. The Colombia international only has four goals in 16 appearances this term, and at the moment it’s looking highly unlikely that Van Gaal will pay the funds needed to make his move to Manchester permanent in the summer.
That could lead to a space opening up in the front-line, one that Wilson will certainly have aspirations of filling. And why not, though raw the England U20 international has shown excellent promise so far, and his work-rate for the team cannot be understated.
Were Van Gaal to make him a mainstay it would allay fears that the club are going to concentrate solely on big-name purchases, and offer comfort to those expecting to see United remain a side supplemented by their famous academy.
United fans, who do you think Van Gaal should play up top against Sunderland in the event that Van Persie and Wilson are both unavailable? Let us know in the comments box below...