Evening Express

Dons’ Wilson trained with Wayne, but it’s Adam Rooney’s boots he’s hoping to fill

James Wilson. Picture by Heather Fowlie

He used to train with Wayne Rooney – and now James Wilson is hoping to fill the boots of Adam.

The Manchester United striker has joined Aberdeen on a season-long loan and is hoping to make an impact at Pittodrie.

Wilson has been recruited by Dons boss Derek McInnes to bolster the Reds’ attack.

The 22-year-old came through the famous youth ranks at Old Trafford. When he graduated to training with the first team, Wilson was turning out alongside the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie.

Wayne Rooney in his Manchester United days

At Aberdeen, he will be following in the footsteps of another Rooney.

Adam left the Dons for Salford City last month after 88 goals in four-and-a-half years.

Former England Under-21 international Wilson hopes he can fill the void left by the Irishman for the Dons’ benefit and also his own.

Wilson is in the last year of his contract with the Red Devils and hopes to put himself in the shop window while in the Granite City.

On his step up to United’s first team, he said: “For me it was a lot more of a jump than some because I moved straight from the youth team to the first team, I skipped the reserves.

“I played two or three games with them and went straight into training with the first team so that was a big jump from training with the youth team

“You were training with players who have played 500 games for the club, it was an amazing experience and I’m grateful for that and I think that’s helped my career as it’s gone on.

“The training was a lot quicker and tougher. I think that stood me in good stead.

“They (Rooney and Van Persie) were as easy going as anybody, you could go and ask them about anything football related or not.

“They were people to talk to and it was brilliant to have those sorts of players giving you advice, it was a great experience.

“It’s about kick-starting my career, this is the last year of my contract at Man United and, hopefully, I’ll get game time and score a few goals to help the team progress.

“I’m hoping to step up to the plate here, score as many goals as I can and help the team to three points at the end of every week.

“That’s the main thing and then see how my profile gets out to other managers and see what happens from there.”

Wilson announced himself as an exciting prospect in May 2014 when he netted twice against Hull City on his United debut.

Since then he has had loan spells in the English Championship with Brighton (2015-16), Derby (2016-17) and Sheffield United (2017-18).

After netting five goals for Brighton, Wilson had a spell on the sidelines following a cruciate ligament injury when at Derby before making his comeback at Bramall Lane in second half of last season.

He admits he wanted to do better in his previous loan stints, but believes he can get back to his best with Aberdeen with one of major reasons for joining the Dons the profile of playing in the Scottish Premiership can give him if he does get back to his best.

Adam Rooney

Commenting on why he chose Aberdeen, Wilson added: “There was a few options where I could have gone to different clubs, but with the coverage the Scottish league is getting it’s a good profile and as good a move as any for me.

“The coverage Scottish football’s been getting has been very good. It’s about putting myself in the shop window and it’s a very good move for doing that.

“Most of my loans haven’t worked out as well as I’d hoped, but that doesn’t dent my confidence in any way.

“I just want to come here and do well for the team and I have my own personal goals.

“I’m feeling confident about the season ahead.

“I feel fit, I went to Austria with the Under-23s with United for pre- season and it was tough, but I got through it and I’ve had a few games in pre season.

“I’ve got minutes under my belt and I’m feeling fit.”