How excited should Manchester United get about James Wilson?

Stretford End

Do Manchester United have 'the next big thing' making their way through the youth system?

Manchester United have four of the best strikers in the Premier League in Van Persie, Rooney, Hernandez and Welbeck. Dislodging that quartet is a tough ask of any player.

Federico Macheda has found it tough, and truth be told, looks unlikely to make the breakthrough. There was a lot of hope, and still is, for 19-year-old England under-21 international Will Keane, who made his debut last year and was being primed for first team chances this year, only for him to injure his cruciate knee ligament in May. He will be back no doubt, but looking over his should at another youngster catching him up fast in the race for the first team.

That would be James Wilson, who is only 16, but looks to be an absolutely terrific prospect.

When you consider he is just one year younger than Raheem Sterling at Liverpool, perhaps a rapid fast-track to the first team isn't impossible. 

Wilson comes to our attention for his continuation of his prolific form this season which he showed last. He bagged a brace in United's under-18 side's 4-0 away rout of Sunderland on Saturday, adding to his impressive tally for the season.

He made his debut for the under-18s at just 15, and even played for United's FA Youth Cup side last season, scoring at Old Trafford in their 2-1 first leg home defeat to Chelsea.

He has already come back from a broken ankle which could have threatened his career, and looks deadlier than ever; against Newcastle's under-18s in September he scored a phenomenal five in one game, bettering the four Danny Welbeck once scored at the same level in 2007.

So how long will it be before we see Wilson in the first team?

Despite his rapid progress, Sir Alex is known for his patience, and he will not rush Wilson. The next step for him is to make the step up to under-21 football, which could happen before the end of the season.

The quartet of strikers plus Keane mean his path to the first team may be blocked for the moment, yet Wilson has another string to his bow. 

The teenager is a natural left-winger, and given United's lack of options there at present, he could find that offers more opportunities down the line, particularly on the left-side of a front-three.

Either way, there is ample reason for United fans to track to development of the teenager. For if he continues his progression, the opportunities will come his way. He could just be the most exciting attacker United have had come through their system in many a year, and the answer to our question in the headline, is very.

image: © smemon

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