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James Wilson Is One Positive to Come from Season of Turmoil at Manchester United

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 06:  James Wilson of Manchester United celebrates scoring the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Hull City at Old Trafford on May 6, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentMay 7, 2014

The day David Moyes was sacked by Manchester United was a long one for the reporters covering the story.

Most of them were outside the training ground at Carrington before 7 a.m. One was there so early they saw Moyes drive into work before 5:30 a.m.

By 6 p.m.—after a day of phone calls and filing copy—most of the press pack, and the pundits asked to give their insight, were shattered. They were sick of hearing the words Manchester, United and Moyes.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 06:  James Wilson of Manchester United competes with George Boyd of Hull City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Hull City at Old Trafford on May 6, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

But speaking to one United academy coach late on that decisive day, it was clear very quickly he was still full of enthusiasm. 

Not because Moyes had been sacked. Not especially because Ryan Giggs had been placed in charge, either. No. Because of what it meant for some of the club's young players. In particular, James Wilson.

See, this coach already knew what the world discovered on Tuesday night. That Wilson, still only 18, has a chance to make the grade at Old Trafford.

There was genuine excitement in his voice while he spoke about the striker, born in Biddulph in Staffordshire. A player, he said, who is better than Wayne Rooney and Adnan Januzaj at the same age. It was quite a compliment.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 06:  Manchester United Caretaker Manager Ryan Giggs congratulates James Wilson as he is substituted during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Hull City at Old Trafford on May 6, 2014 in Manchester, En
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

So was the praise of Wilson's blistering pace, finishing ability and tireless work-rate, qualities that have ensured regular watchers of academy games have known about him for a while.

After two goals on his debut against Hull this week, he's not a secret anymore. 

By he end of the game the United fans were singing "Wilson for England". Perhaps not just yet. But it was a debut that left Old Trafford wondering what else is possible.

Caretaker manager Giggs, who made his debut as a 17-year-old 23 years ago, knows all about the pressures of being a starlet. 

But speaking on the pitch after the game, even he had seen enough to be convinced he had just witnessed a small bit of United's future.

I'd like to say keep supporting us, you have seen a little glimpse of the future, this is what this club is about, we never stand still, we give youth a chance as we try and play attractive football.

We might not always win but keep supporting us and come back soon.

If United had been chasing the Premier League title this week, Wilson wouldn't have got his big chance against Hull. It is one positive to come from a disastrous season.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 06:  James Wilson of Manchester United celebrates scoring the first goal with team-mate Nemanja Vidic during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Hull City at Old Trafford on May 6, 2014 in Manchester,
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It is the state of flux at Old Trafford that gave Giggs the chance to play Wilson and 20-year-old Tom Lawrence on Tuesday night. But it also means the pair will have to impress a new manager next season just like the rest of the squad.

Louis van Gaal does at least have a track record or promoting youth. And Wilson will hope he can add his name to a list that already includes Patrick Kluivert, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, Michael Reiziger, Thomas Muller, Holger Badstuber and David Alaba, if the Dutchman is given the job.

He's got a long way to before he reaches that level. But he couldn't have wished for a better start.

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