James Wilson’s career will always be left with a feeling of ‘what might have been?’
When he scored two goals on his United debut against Hull in 2014, it looked like the club may have a future superstar on the books.
Wilson at that point was scoring at a prolific rate for the academy, but his Red Devils career never took off.
Injuries and unsuccessful loans were a large factor, and Wilson nowadays finds himself playing for Port Vale after finally being released in 2019.
Wilson hits form
Wilson is enjoying a purple patch in form which has seen him score five goals in his last four games.
These goals came in a win over Colchester, a draw with Bradford, and a hat-trick against Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup.
Wilson now boasts seven goals in 18 appearances for Vale, who he signed for in the summer.
To put this in context, it is more than the four goals he netted in 48 games for Aberdeen.
It is also a better scoring rate than his form for Salford City last season, in which he struck 10 goals in 35 games.
Wilson attributes his recent success to regular playing time, telling the Stoke Sentinel: “I think already it is the most successful season I have played minutes-wise.
“I have played umpteen games on the bounce and am feeling good about it, and I think the goals are coming as well. So, on a personal note, that’s a really good thing.”
Still only 25
While it feels like James Wilson has been around forever, he is still only 25.
It is worth remembering that Jamie Vardy did not make his Premier League debut until he was 27 after a career in the lower divisions.
Wilson has always had talent, and he has found a club where he is happy and getting regular starts, and his game is flourishing as a result.
It is great to see him doing well, and with seven goals already this season, it is not beyond possibility that he could end up with 20 by time the campaign is over, with 30 more league games remaining.
If he can do that, then there could be a glut of sides looking to sign him up next summer and offer him opportunities in higher divisions.
For now Wilson just needs to take it one step at a time, and enjoy the moment.
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