A day after 18-year-old James Wilson told Inside United magazine that he hoped his first team debut was "not too far off," Ryan Giggs made him a surprising inclusion Man United's starting XI against Hull City. Wilson promptly justified the decision by scoring a brace to help Man United to a 3-1 win.
With those two goals, Wilson becomes the first player in club history to score goals for the U-18, U-19, U-21 and first team in the same season and the fans at Old Trafford serenaded him with a "Wilson for England" chant as he came off for Robin van Persie in the 63rd minute. Though a spot on this summer's World Cup roster might be asking a bit much, hopes are very high for Wilson and he's wasted no time in proving why.
Wilson was on the bench for Man United's match against Newcastle earlier this season, but he did not play. Then manager David Moyes was eager to give him a chance, but when he got the sack Ryan Giggs (who was born Ryan Wilson, coincidentally) decided to do it himself. The timing of his debut seems to have come as a surprise to James Wilson, who is still a bit starstruck by the first teamers. Like Tom Cleverley.
"Hopefully it [my debut] is not too far off," he admitted. "It would be great and it’s what you work towards. Every time, I just think: ‘I could be in that first team’.
"It would be great to get a few minutes on the pitch and a real experience to see how different the games are and the pace of it. I need to see how I deal with the atmosphere, the pressure and other factors.
"It was great experience being with the team [at St James' Park] and learning how to act around the hotel by being professional. Even the warm-up was different – I was out there with Nemanja Vidic and Tom Cleverley."
He seems to have handled the atmosphere and pressure (and the awesome presence of Tom Cleverley) just fine. Perhaps even more impressive than the goals themselves, though, was the fact that in scoring his first he also gave Marouane Fellaini his first assist of the season. That alone is worth some kind of award.
Making the night all the dreamier was the fact that Wilson's parents were in the stands and loving every minute of it...
So with the bar set at two goals per game, Wilson just has to keep that up for the next 15 years or so and his career will go just fine. No pressure.
- - - - - - -
- Sports & Recreation