Louis van Gaal wanted James Wilson to change shirt number

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Manchester United striker James Wilson has revealed that manager Louis van Gaal was behind his change of shirt number at Old Trafford, reports the Daily Mail.

The teenager - who has moved up in the pecking order under the Dutch boss - was spotted wearing the No.49 shirt after previously wearing the No.47 at the Theatre of Dreams. 

Wilson burst onto the scene last season, as he struck twice on his Premier League debut after Welshman Ryan Giggs handed him his first-team debut for the Red Devils. And now, after the summer departures of Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, Wilson is fighting it out with the likes of Radamel Falcao, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie for a place in the starting XI. 

Nine is important 

And now, after the change in shirt number, Wilson has revealed Van Gaal's reasons for asking him to make the switch, as he told MUTV: 

"As I’m a striker, the gaffer wanted me to have a nine in my number, and 49 was the closest."

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Wilson was, in fact, handed the opportunity to shine in his No.49 shirt as the Red Devils secured a point against Premier League table-toppers Chelsea at Old Trafford yesterday afternoon. The youngster replaced Spanish playmaker Juan Mata against Jose Mourinho's side, and will now be determined to kick on throughout the rest of the campaign. 

Manchester derby 

Wilson may well have one eye on this weekend's Manchester derby, as Van Gaal's side travel to the Etihad to take on the Premier League champions. With captain Wayne Rooney back from suspension and Colombian hitman Radamel Falcao expected to return following a minor knock, Wilson may take up a place on the bench once again. 

At just 18-years-old, the striker certainly looks set for a huge future in the game, and he will be desperate to make his mark in his first Manchester derby on Sunday. 

Manchester United fans: How good do you think Wilson will become? Have your say in the comments section below! 

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