Manchester United youngster James Wilson has paid tribute to the under-21 side for aiding his development.
Wilson says the under-21 setup is important and key to his development, regardless of his increased exposure and role with the first team.
“It’s very, very important because if I’m not getting the minutes on the pitch for the first team, then I’ll be happy to play for the Under-21s and get my match fitness in,” he told the Manchester United website.
“You can simulate a game in training but it’s never going to be the same as a 90-minute game. So it will be good to get minutes on the pitch for the Under-21s as well.”
Wilson is now the fourth choice striker at the club behind Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and summer arrival Radamel Falcao.
His comments suggest that the relationship between the under-21 side and the senior team is a positive one, which shows why Louis van Gaal hasn’t been afraid to dip into his reserve ranks already this season.
United’s under-21 side is definitely benefiting from the competition for places and the prospect of a role in the first team because United’s youngsters are sitting pretty at the top of division one in the under-21 Premier League, with games in hand.
It also allows Wilson to build relationships with more established first team stars.
For example, Michael Carrick recently played in an under-21 game for an hour and Adnan Januzaj has been a key component of the youth team so far this season.
Both Manchester United setups are in good shape although LvG would want his first team to be a little higher up the Premier League already.