Keen followers of the academy have been privileged over the past two years to see two burgeoning talents flourish from our lower ranks.
Adnan Januzaj was a cut above the rest when he played with Manchester United’s Under-21s and a subsequent breakthrough into the first team was the least he deserved.
Now, James Wilson has taken centre stage and is on the verge of following in Januzaj’s footsteps into United’s senior side and his four goal haul against Manchester City yesterday typified what makes him so special.
All four goals were brilliant in their own respect. The first saw Wilson pick the ball up on the halfway line before he ran at the City defence with confidence and pace to slot home a cute finish from a tight angle on his wrong foot. He made it look so easy.
The second was once again a natural finish from Wilson. A smartly timed run put him clean through on goal and with the outside of his foot, he delicately chipped the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper to give United the lead.
He showed his pace with his hat-trick goal after latching onto a lovely through-ball from midfielder Ben Pearson and finished courtesy of a deflection from the goalkeeper.
As for the fourth goal, it was arguably the pick of the bunch. Wilson somehow turned a first touch into a looped pass over his own head, held off a challenge, opened his body up and placed his finish into the side netting.
Wilson’s a special talent. There are plenty of players who come through the academy who look good, but Wilson looks great. At 18, he is already way beyond Reserve football. The question now is whether Louis van Gaal wants to have him in his first team squad or whether he chooses to send him out on loan.