Before Marcus Rashford burst onto the scene in 2014, there was another young striker at Manchester United who was tipped for big things.
James Wilson was handed his debut by interim manager Ryan Giggs at the end of the ill-fated 2013-14 campaign and responded by scoring two goals.
He then featured 17 times under Louis van Gaal the following season, scoring the same number of goals.
Sadly, we’ve seen very little of Wilson since. A cruciate ligament injury sustained while on loan at Derby County in October 2016 has stunted his development and the chances of the 22-year-old making at Old Trafford now appear to be over.
Wilson spent time on loan at Championship outfit Sheffield United last season and has now joined Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen for the remainder of the 2018-19 campaign.
The 22-year-old admits he wants to put himself “in the shop window”. Even he feels that becoming a first-team player at Man Utd is no longer a realistic possibility.
The likelihood is that Wilson has already made his final appearance for the Red Devils.
Man Utd coach gives honest James Wilson assessment
However, Man Utd youth coach Clayton Blackmore has come out with some eye-opening comments about the striker today.
Not only does he insist that Aberdeen have secured the services of the best young prospect he’s ever seen - but he also feels that Wilson is a better player than Leicester City and England striker Jamie Vardy.
“Some players get their breaks at different ages,” Blackmore is quoted as saying by the Daily Record. “Look at Jamie Vardy, who took longer than most. Willo is better than Vardy for me.
“Maybe he’s not quite as quick, but he runs better with the ball and he’s two footed.”
He continued: “James Wilson was the best 15-year-old I’ve ever seen. He was a fantastic finisher with his left foot as good as his right.
“His movement was very good and he steadily improved as he went through the age groups right up to making his first team debut, when he scored two goals under Ryan Giggs.
“James had a bad injury but he’s still a top player. He just needs to be played in the right position.
“People think he’s a target man but he’s not, he’s a player who plays off the front. Get him on the ball and get him running at teams.
“He’s fantastic running with the ball and could finish from 30 yards with both feet. There are very few players who can do that.”
Blackmore: Van Gaal's tactics didn't suit Wilson
Blackmore also reckons Van Gaal’s tactics prevented Wilson from producing his best form during the 2014-15 campaign.
“The way United played under Van Gaal saw the team getting fewer balls into the strikers. James was played as an out and out striker on his own,” he added.
“It’s hard to play against two centre halves all the time as it doesn’t allow you to get on the ball much, which is what James needs to do. The style didn’t help anybody and even Wayne Rooney struggled. James needed a bit of luck – every player does – and he didn’t get it.”
It will be fascinating to see if Wilson can score goals consistently for Aberdeen.
This is an excellent chance for the Biddulph-born striker to get his career back on track and Man Utd fans will surely wish him all the best.News Now - Sport News