This week, Louis van Gaal said James Wilson is “knocking on the door” for a start at United. After fellow U21 players Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett were introduced into the defence after a flurry of injuries to first choice defenders, van Gaal has shown he is not scared to give youngsters a chance – a feature he has shown at all his previous clubs, where he gave stars such as Xavi and Thomas Muller their debuts in the first team for Barcelona and Bayern Munich, respectively.
James Wilson has, however, already made his debut for United, an unforgettable match where he scored twice against Hull City, during Ryan Giggs’ tenure as manager. Wilson has also featured from the bench this season in big games against Manchester City and Chelsea, albeit as a last resort. Van Gaal has already publicly expressed his confidence in Wilson, not only by using him as an impact substitute but by also claiming that he was part of the reason that Danny Welbeck was sold by the club, saying that the England international was fifth choice after van Persie, Rooney, Falcao and Wilson.
After a the match against Crystal Palace, in which United had 23 shots, but only 5 on target, some are claiming van Persie is not doing enough to deserve a starting place at United, and with Falcao still injured and Rooney being deployed in a deeper midfield role, is it time for Wilson to start?
United’s next match, Arsenal away, perhaps might be too big a fixture for Wilson, but if van Gaal feels that the senior strikers haven’t been performing well enough, he may well choose to give Wilson his chance, hoping that his confidence and ability will make up for a lack of experience. Wilson’s best chance at a start will probably be in an FA cup match, where van Gaal will be looking to give roles to players yet to feature prominently this season.
If James Wilson does make some sort of impact, be it from the bench or from the starting line up, no doubt van Gaal will be willing to give him his chance, as he has done with so many young, promising players in the past.