Manchester United striker James Wilson was elated to get on the scoresheet on his first start on loan at Brighton and Hove Albion.
Wilson made the move to the south coast at the end of last month, as Louis van Gaal felt the youngster needed more playing time than he was getting in Man United’s first team. It hasn’t taken him long to hit the ground running, as the 20-year-old beat three defenders with ease before slotting into the back of the net.
It was great for United fans to see one of their academy graduates doing well while still on the club’s books. However, while Wilson was helping Brighton to the top of the Championship, his parent club were struggling to break down a stubborn West Ham defence at Old Trafford.
United were held to a goalless draw by the Hammers, their fifth in nine games, as the pressure on van Gaal continues to increase. His decision to let Wilson leave on loan came under particular scrutiny following the Englishman’s goal in the second tier of English football.
The Reds were certainly lacking in the attacking department against West Ham and could have done with Wilson’s pace and unpredictability. With Wayne Rooney and Ander Herrera injured, Marouane Fellaini was forced to play in the No.10 role, an experiment that didn’t seem to work for United.
Supporters will have to hope that the obvious need for a striker of Wilson’s calibre does not come back to haunt United at the end of the season. The forward will earn some much-needed experience playing for a club fighting for a title in the Championship and will hopefully return to Manchester a more complete footballer next season.