Much like an expensive toy a child has no more use for, James Wilson has been unceremoniously disposed of on top of an endless pile of other talents not fit for future purpose.
Football is a ruthless game, it really is. Just take a moment to think the football league machine; from the ever-churning scouting systems at youth level to the academy and beyond; the slaughterhouse-style sorting between ripe and wrong talents destined for glory or unbearable nothingness.
If every prospect ever introduced onto the scene as ‘the next big thing’ made it, then we would be living in a Football Manager world filled to the brim with exciting talents from all corners of the world. But we do not. Our brightest talents have to face the sad reality that they may be too slow, too small, too unfit or too ineffectiveness to ever fulfil their dream. James Wilson of Manchester United is one of these baring down on a grim fate.
The youngster was handed his United debut by Ryan Giggs, caretaker manager at the time, during the disastrous 2013-14 campaign. While he was a relatively unknown talent around the Old Trafford faithful at the time, it did not take him long to announce himself – scoring two goals in a 3-1 victory for Giggs’ men.
From unknown talent to the future of Manchester United football overnight, Wilson carried the immense pressure and responsibility of the club’s tradition of promoting youth excellence with relative ease, continuing his run of senior form into the youth side when he scored all four of his side’s goals in the Manchester Senior Cup final as the Red Devils’ under-21s humbled City 4-1. He was breaking through like the chick out of the egg – it was only a matter of time before he became a star.
It all went a bit downhill for James Wilson soon after, who stumbled and fell at the next huddle under the weight over heavy expectations scoring just two goals in 17 appearances in all competitions for Louis van Gaal and was eventually sent packing on loan to Brighton and Hove Albion the following season.
Wilson played 25 times for Brighton during his stay at the Amex but with a fairly poor return of five goals, the signs were there that this particular hen was not going to lay a golden egg.
The appointment of Jose Mourinho and the emergence of new Manchester United toy Marcus Rashford, who had announced himself under Van Gaal, were the final nails in the coffin for James Wilson. He was sent out on loan again in August 2016 this time to Derby County, where he managed a desperate four appearances before suffering a serious knee injury.
With the injury setback and immense task over toppling United’s current forwards, Wilson has slowly faded away into obscurity and is now on loan at Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen where has netted just three times in 19 appearances.
Manchester United fans, what are your standout memories of James Wilson? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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