At Manchester United James Wilson learned from world-class stars and now aims to pass on his knowledge to Aberdeen’s rising attacking talent.
Attacker Wilson ended more than a decade at Old Trafford when leaving the three-time Champions League winners during the summer.
Dons boss Derek McInnes moved quickly to sign the former England Under-21 captain on a permanent deal until summer 2021.
Wilson emerged through the youth ranks at United and made a sensational breakthrough to the first team when netting twice in his home debut – a 3-1 defeat of Hull City in 2014.
He played and trained alongside United legend Wayne Rooney, the club’s all-time record scorer, and Dutch World Cup runner-up Robin van Persie.
Now Wilson is ready to pass on lessons learned from the best in the game to the new breed of talent emerging at Pittodrie.
He said: “Players like Rooney and Van Persie were always good to watch.
“If there was anything I was unsure about or they thought needed to be addressed with me then they would as they were great professionals.
“There was a lot of learning from them.
“Obviously not being around them every day I just have to remember what they taught me and see if I can do that for the younger boys at Aberdeen as well.
“I certainly had a lesson or two off the big boys and hopefully I can take that along.”
Wilson would go on to make 31 appearances for Manchester United, scoring four times.
He started games alongside both Rooney and van Persie and then Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal was so impressed by Wilson he hailed the striker as one of England’s brightest talents.
Signing Wilson to a four-year deal until June 2019 Van Gaal insisted the then 18-year-old had the potential to succeed Rooney and van Persie.
However, an anterior cruciate ligament injury, suffered on loan at Derby County in 2016, derailed his career. Following surgery Wilson was out for a season and then had a number of loan spells, the final at Aberdeen last season.
Wilson was given his first-team breakthrough by interim manager Ryan Giggs and cemented his reputation under van Gaal.
Aberdeen legend Sir Alex Ferguson was manager at Old Trafford as Wilson rose up through the club’s youth ranks.
The player said: “I spoke to Sir Alex when he was coming towards the end of his reign and I was coming up through the ranks.
“Whenever he was around the training ground or in the corridor he would always ask how I was doing.
“It was a brilliant lift for me as a youngster and always good to see Sir Alex.”
Wilson came on as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with struggling St Johnstone at Pittodrie.
Aberdeen’s attack failed to create any significant opportunities in the second half, the return of a previous scoring malaise.
Prior to the 3-0 defeat of Ross County before the international break Aberdeen had failed to score in four of five games.
Wilson accepts the attack have to step up and deliver goals.
He said: “The demand is on the front players to start producing a little more and get the goals.
“Our defence has been strong so hopefully they do their job and we do ours at the other end.”
Aberdeen saw off interest from Sunderland and Preston North End to sign Wilson on a permanent deal. He signed two weeks into Aberdeen’s pre-season preparations but had done work in the summer on his fitness.
He said: “Everyone works on their own during the summer as you have a programme to do to top things up.
“I had a week or two off to get away from everything to get on holiday or whatever.
“Then it just kicks back in again. Although you are still at home and not at the club you still keep the fitness topped up. I did that through the summer and also did extra things after I came to Aberdeen.”