James Wilson marked his return to the starting XI for Manchester United’s Under-21s with an emphatic hat-trick against Wolves tonight to underline his status as a prolific goalscorer.
The 18-year-old hasn’t played too much football in 2014 because of illness and injury but he showed no signs of it against Wolves.
Wilson’s first goal was an outstanding finish. He found space among three Wolves defenders and rifled in a sweet left footed strike from outside the box into the bottom corner to give the goalkeeper no chance.
His second goal was a perfect example of how good Wilson’s feet are in and around the box. His first touch gave him a few yards and he arrowed a right footed finish into the side netting.
To finish the hat-trick, Wilson held his run and pounced on a loose ball in the Wolves box to fire a right footed strike high up into the net.
It’s hard not to get excited about Wilson because he was just as prolific with the Under-18s last year, least not against Newcastle where he scored five in a single game, and speaking after the game, he admitted getting a place in the first team squad was his aim.
“I do quite a lot of work. We train a lot and I train extra on my finishing too,” he said.
“I want as many minutes as possible to keep my confidence up. Hopefully I can push for the first team squad.
When asked if Januzaj’s progression to the first team is something that can give him some hope, he replied: “Yeah definitely. I can relate to him and the stage he was at last year and hopefully can follow in his footsteps.”
It’s impossible to really gauge a player who is prolific at Under-21s level but Wilson rarely puts in a bad performance. At every academy level, he has always stood out just like Januzaj did last year.
Hopefully Wilson can avoid picking up any serious injury because Will Keane enjoyed real success with the Under-21s and Sir Alex Ferguson was going to take him on tour before a cruciate injury ruined his chance.
If Wilson can keep up this sort of form for the rest of the season, David Moyes may reward him with a place in the first team squad for the pre-season tour of America.