5 things about Man United's new goal hero
When Manchester United's starting XI against Hull City at Old Trafford on Wednesday morning (Singapore time) was announced, Red Devils fans were in for a surprise.
Aside from omitting big names like Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney, interim manager Ryan Giggs handed debuts to two unknown youngsters in Tom Lawrence and James Wilson.
Naturally, thousands of fans reacted online. Some were excited:
Others were surprised:
And some were outright critical:
In the end, Giggs' selection was vindicated when United notched a 3-1 win over the Tigers, with 18-year-old Wilson playing a key role by scoring two well-taken goals.
The youngster's performance certainly gives United fans something to cheer after a dismal season, but who is he?
Here's five facts about Wilson, including a Singaporean connection at No. 5:
1) Born just over 40km away from Manchester in the town of Biddulph in Staffordshire on Dec 1, 1995, James Antony Wilson was just seven when caught the eye of United scouts, according to the club's official website.
2) As his debut brace suggests, Wilson is a goal machine who has scored at four different levels for United this season. According to the Metro, the young hit-man has bagged 19 goals this season at youth level. Wolves' and Newcastle's youth sides can certainly testify to this: Wilson scored a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over the former in an Under-21 Premier League match in April while he pilfered an incredible five goals against Newcastle's U-18s in September, 2012.
3) Wilson has been consistently ahead of his age-group. He made his debut for the Manchester United Under-18s at the age of 15 and made his Under-19 and Under-21 debuts this season at 18. Wilson has also featured for England's youth teams.
4) Wilson's strikes make him the fourth youngest Manchester United scorer in the Premier League era, according to Opta.
5) Singaporean football fans who caught the NexLions Cup two years ago will have seen Wilson in the flesh when Manchester United sent an Under-19 side to take part in the youth tournament at Jalan Besar Stadium. While United's youngsters failed to fire, Wilson, then 16 and had just signed his first professional contract at the club, managed to get on the score-sheet with a neat finish to open the scoring against Sporting Lisbon during a 4-1 defeat.
Sources: Manchester United, Metro, OptaJoe