Wilson, who has scored four goals in 20 appearances for Man United, will spend the rest of the season at Brighton.
Some supporters criticised the move as they felt Wilson would be better served playing in United’s first-team. However, van Gaal insisted the short-term stint in the Championship will be better for Wilson’s development.
“I have not always chosen him in the selection, and I think for him it’s better to play at his age than sit on the bench or play in the second squad,” van Gaal said.
“In the short-term, maybe it’s not so good for Manchester United, but in the long-term it’s better. It is part of the development of a player.”
The decision is a curious one. Why didn’t van Gaal let Wilson leave at the start of the campaign, rather than waiting until just before the January transfer window?
Wilson’s exit has left United short of options up top, with Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial the only real strikers left in the squad. Marouane Fellaini can play up there, but United’s negative tactics with him on the pitch have been well documented. Van Gaal must surely have someone lined up for January. If not, the decision to let Wilson go could come to haunt United.