Just over 12 months ago, I wrote an article asking if this season would be the one that finally saw Will Keane break through at Manchester United.
The young striker was on the road to recovery following a cruciate knee ligament injury that put a temporary halt to a career that was very much on the up.
Prior to that injury, Keane was regarded as one of the best forwards to come out of Old Trafford for some time, a natural goal-scorer who had the ability to reach the very top of the game. But despite overcoming that major set-back to start playing again, this campaign has not gone according to plan, with loan spells at Wigan Athletic and Queens Park Rangers failing to yield a single goal to date.
Of course it was always going to take Keane a while to rediscover his form. Such a serious injury does not just rob a player of time, but also of much that came naturally before it occurred – confidence, match-fitness, luck.
But at 21, Keane may well look at the emergence of another United youngster and wonder if he will still get the chances that once seemed inevitable at Old Trafford.
James Wilson may not have got on the pitch against Newcastle United last weekend, but his very presence on the bench generated plenty of gossip. That he would then return to the under-21s and score a wonder-goal only added to the already-considerable hype.
And while it would be foolish to suggest Wilson is going to suddenly break into United’s first-team simply because of a few goals scored at youth and under-21 level, it appears he is now ahead of Keane for that chance.
Hopefully both players will make it at United, perhaps one day forming a strike-partnership for club and country. But one wonders if Keane was a victim of terrible luck that will ultimately rob him of more than just a single season at United.