James Wilson targeted by Sheffield United ahead of possible loan move this month

Manchester United reserve striker James Wilson is a possible target for Sheffield United this month according to the Sheffield Star. The report suggests United’s 22-year-old striker and Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Lee Evans could be the targets Blades manager Chris Wilder is looking to strengthen his squad with ahead of the Steel City derby this Friday. Wilder has not revealed the names of the players he is seeking, but Wilson, seeking to reestablish himself in club football after his horror injury, could benefit from a loan move, which also adds to the fact United have promoted some U18 players to U23 training, possibly to fill the void left by Wilson and maybe others. Wilder, quoted by the Sheffield Star about loan signings, said:

“I’m confident this week we’ll get a couple more players in as well. We’re delighted he (Leonard) is in the building and he’ll strengthen the group. Hopefully, we’ll get two or three others to boost our numbers and give me the amount of problems (in terms of selection) I should have.”

Wilson emerged back in 2013/14, after the sacking of David Moyes, making his debut at Old Trafford in a 3-1 Premier League victory over Norwich City, scoring a brace himself. The following season (2014/15), Wilson made 17 appearances, scoring twice under Louis van Gaal and looked to be making waves in the United first team. During the 2015/16 season, Wilson made two appearances for United before being loaned out to Brighton and Hove Albion where he made 27 appearances in the Championship, scoring five goals. Van Gaal was sacked as United manager at the end of that season with Jose Mourinho replacing him at the start of the 2016/17 season, a season in which Wilson was loaned out again.

Derby County were the destination for the young striker but it was not to be the season where he would improve, injury striking and the player being left on the sidelines. For Derby, Wilson made five appearances, four for the first team and one in the Football League Trophy, an U23 competition. Wilson scored his only goal for the club in that U23 competition against Doncaster Rovers. During the summer, Wilson had recovered from his injury and was seeking to resurrect his career. Ricky Sbragia came in as the new U23 coach at the Old Trafford club and Wilson was kept in the squad to regain his fitness and earn his plaudits once again.

Wilson has only featured for the U23’s this season, despite calls for him to be promoted after both Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were injured at the same time, but Mourinho opted to utilise Anthony Martial as his striker for the match against Everton at Goodison Park in the Premier League on New Year’s Day. Wilson has played eleven matches in the Premier League 2 this season, scoring seven goals. At this stage of his career, playing reserve league football will not be beneficial for him but it was important for the club to assess his return from long-term injury, ensuring he was on the right road to continue his career. A loan move for the second half of the season would be great for the Biddulph-born striker.

Playing in the Championship with Sheffield United could see Wilson continue where he left off the season before last, scoring five goals with Brighton. The loan spell with Derby last season was not the best, but that was caused by injury, which cannot be helped in this industry. If Wilder and the Blades were interested in Wilson, United should let him leave to player at a much higher level than the Premier League 2, which could see the 22-year-old return to the Old Trafford club at the end of the season with more experience under his belt, perhaps rediscovering the form which saw him as a future superstar only a few years ago.

During the 2013/14 season, which saw Wilson play for the clubs U18’s, U19’s, U21’s and the first team, he made 30 appearances (one from the bench), scoring 24 goals and assisting five others, seeing him nearly score or create a goal in each match he played. The following season, Wilson made fewer appearances at youth level, starring in the U21’s. Wilson made 12 appearances, scoring eight goals and a further two assists. In the 2015/16 season, Wilson made one appearance at U21 level, scoring once and assisting another goal. The talent is there, it just needs to be rediscovered. Having Sheffield United, or even another Championship club after him could be where he shows the world of football that he is back. Playing U23 level football is not where that will happen.

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