James Wilson steals the show as Man Utd see off Hull

May 7, 2014
Bill Mann

Old timers Vidic and Giggs were eclipsed at Old Trafford by two goals from 18-year-old James Wilson

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester United 3 Hull 1. On an evening when the pre-match headlines had been dominated by Nemanja Vidic and Ryan Giggs, it was an 18-year-old who stole the show at Old Trafford.

James Wilson scored twice on his debut as Manchester United signed off for the season in front of their fans with a hard-earned win over Hull.

Wilson and 20-year-old Welshman Tom Lawrence were both blooded by Ryan Giggs as United’s player-manager continued Alex Ferguson’s tradition of giving a run out to tyros at the end of the season if there was nothing to play for.

In Ferguson’s day that was usually because United had already wrapped up the Premier League title, but times have changed at Old Trafford. This season United have been bystanders as Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have fought it out at the top of the table, but in young James Wilson the Red Devils may have found a player to help restore their reputation in the seasons ahead.

The teenager turned his debut into a dream on 31 minutes with a swivel and shot that beat Eldin Jakupovic in the visitors’ goal, and his second came on the hour mark when he was on hand to fire home after Marouane Fellaini's initial shot had been blocked.

Any hopes Wilson had of emulating Charles Sagar in 1905 and Wayne Rooney in 2004, the only two United players to score a hat-trick on their debut, were dashed when he was replaced by Robin van Persie on 64 minutes.

By that time Hull had pulled a goal back thanks to Matty Fryatt’s rasping shot and the visitors gave United a few more anxious moments before van Persie put the game to bed on 86 minutes with a sharp finish.

Giggs had brought himself on in the final quarter for what may turn out to be his farewell appearance at Old Trafford, and the 40-year-old nearly scored in stoppage time with a free-kick that Jakupovic did well to tip over the bar.

Vidic, who had been presented with a gift by United legend Bobby Charlton prior to kick-off, addressed the crowd at the final whistle, thanking them for their support over the eight years he has been at the club.

From Giggs there was no hint about his future plans, just praise for the next generation of United stars. “I have not decided yet, nothing has changed. I'll wait until the season has finished and then get a holiday and think about it in the next couple of weeks, "he said. “We got the young lads in to train with us and they never looked out of place... James Wilson is not just a finisher, his all-round play is very good and he is exciting.”

Amid all the applause for the young and the old of United, there was the depressing sight of centre-back Phil Jones being carried off on a stretcher after a first-half collision with Maynor Figueroa. “He has gone to hospital,” said Giggs later. “We will just have to assess it and see how it goes but it didn't look great.”

Initial reports suggested the England defender had dislocated his shoulder, an injury which could threaten his participation in next month’s World Cup in Brazil.

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