One of the brutal realities of coming through the youth ranks of Manchester United is that you are far from guaranteed a long career at the club. United’s history is littered with players who have briefly sparkled but never fully shone, and have left the club to seek first team football elsewhere. After scoring a brace against Hull City on his first team debut under temporary manager Ryan Giggs in 2014, James Wilson appeared as if he would be able to buck the trend and make a name for himself at Old Trafford, but the arrival of Louis van Gaal that same summer was followed by a lack of opportunities and a loan move to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Wilson’s hopes of making it at United have been further dented by the emergence of Marcus Rashford as a supreme young talent at the club, and with Anthony Martial also making a name for himself with some wonderful displays over the last twelve months, Wilson’s opportunities look severely limited.
A loan deal to Championship side Derby County looked to be a good career move after Jose Mourinho took over the side in May of this year, but unfortunately, Wilson has returned to United after sustaining anterior cruciate ligament damage to his knee during training. An operation will be reauired, and Wilson will be facing a long period on the sidelines. Speaking to United’s official website, Warren Joyce, the club’s reserve coach offered his young striker some comfort:
“It’s a great disappointment for him and for the club as well,” said United Reserves coach Warren Joyce. “He’s got to look to work his socks off and come back in the best shape he’s ever been in his life. All you can do when you have setbacks is to try to be positive and look to make sure when you do return, it’s in the best shape.”
Derby County’s new manager Steve McClaren, also a former assistant manager at Old Trafford offered this on Wilson’s situation:
“Only last week, I was saying how much I was looking forward to working with him because he is an exciting young talent. I know that he will bounce back from this disappointment, especially as well as being a very good player, he is also a strong and determined character.”
Wilson will be hoping that this latest setback isn’t as fatal to his United career as it appears to be.