In March 2009, a young Manchester United striker scored a hat-trick in a reserve match against Newcastle.
Just a week later, that same player netted what many saw as a title-deciding goal in a scintillating first-team encounter between United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
That player was of course Federico Macheda, and it would be prove to be the highlight of a United career that briefly soared only to swiftly fall back to earth.
The Italian’s contract expires this summer and he will soon be a United player only in memory.
Currently on loan at Birmingham City, the now-22-year-old has shown that he can still find the net on a semi-regular basis at Championship level; but only time will tell if he can be a success for a top-tier club either in England or elsewhere.
But now another young United striker has made headlines with a hat-trick of his own, for the side’s under-21s team against their Wolverhampton Wanderers counterparts.
James Wilson has quite a record this season – including five goals in five UEFA Youth League matches, four in four under-21 games, two in two FA Youth Cup matches and eight in seven games for United’s under-18s.
And following his latest exploits, it is no surprise that the 18-year-old striker has generated a few headlines.
At the end of last year, I wrote a piece highlighting five United youngsters to watch in 2014, and at the top of that list was Wilson.
At the time I wrote that his trajectory is such that he could soon be knocking on the door of the United first-team. And while it may be a while before David Moyes gives him that chance, there is no doubt Wilson will be given the opportunity in due course.
Wilson’s performances to date suggest he will not be another Macheda, instead following the path of Adnan Januzaj into Moyes’ first-team plans.
But as the soon-to-depart Italian has showed, getting into the United side is one thing while staying there is quite another.
image: © Paolo Camera