Some United fans were left bemused in November when manager Louis van Gaal decided to make the decision to send young striker James Wilson out on loan.
He joined promotion-chasing Brighton in the Championship, who, under Chris Hughton have been buzzing around the automatic promotion places all season. And the addition of the Man United academy prospect has only served to help their push, with the young striker once again proving his credentials – a fantastic solo strike against Reading a couple of weeks ago was a genuine highlight..
So many Man United supporters are asking again: why won’t Van Gaal recall Wilson to the side?
With Wayne Rooney out injured, United only have Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford available as senior strikers, but neither can be seen as genuine 20-goal-a-season options right now.
Whilst Red Devils supporters are understandably excited about the likes of Marcus Rashford and Tim Fosu-Mensah, there’s a real feeling amongst both Man United and Brighton supporters that Wilson could one day make the grade in Manchester.
He’s got an excellent burst of pace, and although he struggled to hit the ground running at the Amex, it seems that he has now settled and is ready to continue to assist Brighton in their on-going promotion battle.
Despite Van Gaal not opting to recall Wilson despite Rooney’s injury woes, statistics are in the 20-year-old’s favour as he continues to climb the pecking order.
As we have seen numerous times this season, LVG has not been afraid to throw the young guns into the equation when needed and had he not already been out on loan, many United fans have little doubt Wilson would have made an appearance by now if he was still at the club.
Rashford, Fosu-Mensah, Guillermo Varela, Jesse Lingard and Paddy McNair have all enjoyed first-team opportunities under Van Gaal, so this will be of thought to Wilson, who will understandably be considering his options at the end of the season.
For him, it’s crunch time. He doesn’t have that Rashford feel about him anymore – that was there two years ago. Whilst United’s newest star is thrilling fans with his fearlessness and ability to bang in important goals, Wilson has somewhat disappeared into the background.
He needs to make sure that he continues to do everything in his power to help Brighton in the hope it will catch the eye of the United coaches, who have the power to bring him back to Old Trafford and give him a starting place.
There is always a buzz of excitement about Manchester United – after all, they’re Manchester United. Wilson needs to ensure he is part of this to confirm his place there next season. There is an optimism that this current crop of young players could rival Sir Matt Busby’s ‘babes’, or one of Sir Alex’s title winning sides.
Yes, we’ve only seen a handful of performances from Wilson, but as the season draws to a close and the race for promotion in the Championship hots up, he could have a massive role to play not just now, but in distant future, too.