James Wilson has talked about his loan move to Derby County in the Championship club’s official website, stating that he sought advice from Jose Mourinho, Jesse Lingard, and Michael Keane before sealing a temporary move to the Midlands club.
Wilson noted that Mourinho encouraged the move, saying that he wanted to see the young striker playing games and scoring goals, something that Wilson has found difficult in a United shirt since his impressive debut against Hull City in May 2014.
His brace that evening, on his first team debut, was hugely impressive but his career at Old Trafford has essentially stalled since then. Louis van Gaal rarely utilised him during his two years in charge.
Wilson went out on loan to another Championship club, Brighton and Hove Albion for the second half of last season, and notched 5 goals in 27 appearances for the south coast side, but despite a shortage of striking talent after an injury to Wayne Rooney, Wilson wasn’t recalled, and Marcus Rashford went on to write his own piece of history instead.
In terms of this season, a loan move for Wilson is absolutely the best decision he could be making.
The chances of regular first team football at United with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rashford ahead of him in the pecking order are very, very slim, and as he is still somewhat unproven at this level, getting regular playing time in the tough, game-heavy world of the Championship is probably the best option he had available to him this season.
For Mourinho, it’s also a wise move. Wilson is a player with clear talent, and an eye for goal but he hasn’t been able to establish himself at United enough to warrant consideration for a place up front this season.
This loan deal at Derby is a great opportunity to prove that he has what it takes to play for United regularly, and he deserves credit for not calling into the trap that other young players have of staying in the periphery of the first team squad indefinitely.
The good thing for Wilson’s career is that time is still on his side.
He turns 21 this December, and whilst there is more pressure on young footballers than ever to make an impact in the face of stiff competition, a good, prolific season for Wilson at Derby could work wonders for his United career.
Either way, Mourinho will surely be keeping an eye on him.