Amid the hype surrounding Manchester United and England’s latest star Marcus Rashford, spare a thought for poor James Wilson.
Two years ago, after David Moyes had been unceremoniously dismissed and replaced on an interim basis by Ryan Giggs, Wilson starred for the first-team. A brace against Hull City on his debut was meant to be the start of big things.
The arrival of Louis van Gaal, a man famed for trusting youth, was meant to smoothen his passage to the first-team.
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How things have changed.
Wilson impressed in the Championship with Brighton & Hove Albion, but with Jose Mourinho now at the helm, his future is shrouded in uncertainty.
Whether or not he will be given a chance to forge a career for himself at Old Trafford may hinge on just who arrives this summer.
Wilson’s debut under Giggs was one of the bright points in an otherwise miserable season. Moyes had been sacked for failing to secure Champions League football, but the appointment of Van Gaal was meant to be the ticket back to the top. Alas, it did not turn out that way.
For some reason, Van Gaal never seemed to take to Wilson. In his first year, where Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao both struggled for form and fitness, he was still overlooked for the most part. Two goals from 17 appearances hardly endeared him to Moyes’ successor either.
The departures of Van Persie, Falcao and Javier Hernandez last summer should have meant Wilson be given another chance to make his mark. Instead, he was loaned to Brighton, and the form of Rashford and Anthony Martial means he will face a huge battle to convince Mourinho of his worth.
It wasn’t that Wilson performed badly for Brighton. The 20-year-old scored five times from 24 appearances but, with Mourinho reportedly keen to land a marquee striker or two this summer, then he may not necessarily be at Old Trafford next season.
Mourinho has never been one to push for youth. Sure, if they’re good enough then they will play, but Wilson, unfortunately, is not.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Karim Benzema all represent a significant upgrade on the youngster. Rashford and Martial are in the first-team to stay too.
It looks as though it will be another transfer window of uncertainty for a player that was once the face of United’s future. Giggs got the best out of him, but it will be Mourinho, not the Welshman, in the managerial dugout next season.
It looks as though Wilson’s ship may just have sailed.
Has James Wilson played his last game for Manchester United? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!