Manchester United striker James Wilson has been called up to the England U21 squad for the first time in his career.
The 19-year-old has earned plaudits for his excellent work rate and movement since his senior debut against Hull City in May 2014, a game in which he scored twice.
Despite not featuring in Man United’s first four games of the season, the teenager has caught the eye of Gareth Southgate, who is looking to make changes to a squad that failed at the U21 European Championships this summer.
Wilson expressed his delight over the call-up but is also setting his sights on bigger goals for the future.
“Playing for England’s senior team is obviously the main goal. But you have to take one little step at a time,” said Wilson.
“I think the U21s will be good for me – a great experience and some valuable game time as well.”
As for Wilson’s chances at United, it’s hard to pinpoint where exactly he lies in Louis van Gaal’s pecking order.
The manager started him against Liverpool last season – a tactical adjustment that worked excellently against Liverpool’s back three – and it was an incredible sign of trust. However, given that Wilson hasn’t made van Gaal’s starting XI since the 0-0 draw with Cambridge United back in January, question marks loom over his long-term future at Old Trafford.
Regular involvement with the U21s will aid Wilson in his progression as a footballer, and could also give the striker a better chance of being noticed by van Gaal ahead of a crucial season for him.