Wilson turns down deals to make memories with Dons

James Wilson after signing a permanent deal with Aberdeen
James Wilson after signing a permanent deal with Aberdeen

New signing James Wilson revealed he snubbed potential big money deals in favour of happiness and potential success at Aberdeen.

The former Manchester United striker made his second debut off the bench in the 2-0 away friendly defeat of Peterhead having signed a two-year contract at Pittodrie.

English sides Sunderland and Preston North End were keen to sign the 23-year-old with a number of American MLS sides also tracking Wilson.

The former England U21 cap rejected their interest to sign with the Dons for a fraction of the wages, understood to be £30,000 per week, he was on at Old Trafford.

The striker, who was released by Manchester United last month, came on as substitute at Balmoor to a warm welcome from the sizeable Dons crowd.

Wilson said: “There is a lot of money in football these days and that can be a deciding factor in some cases.

“But for me at this point a big thing was about being content, happy, comfortable and ready to work for the team.

“The main reason I came back (to Aberdeen) was because the group of players here are brilliant and I really enjoyed working with the coaching staff.

“I had offers but this was a fairly easy decision for me to make based on the memories I have already made.

“I just want to build on them.”

Wilson was the hottest property in English football five years ago when netting a brace on his Manchester United debut in a 3-1 defeat of Hull City.

He went on to score four goals for Manchester United before a series of injury set-backs derailed his momentum.

Now he has signed on at the Dons in a bid to resurrect his career.

Perhaps being away from the burden of having to live up to life as a Manchester United star can see him finally realise his potential.

Wilson, who scored four goals in 32 appearances on loan at Pittodrie last season, began to show real signs of his quality in the Premiership post split games.

He said: “At the end of last season he (McInnes) said he would be keen to get me back.

“It was good to feel important and in his plans.”

Wilson is McInnes’ seventh signing of the summer and has been secured ahead of Friday’s UEFA deadline to register players for the Europa League first qualifying round against RoPS.

He said: “It would be good to get my hands on some silverware and a medal.

“The expectation at the club is to do well in these tournaments.

“We feel strong with the squad. I think it is going to be a good season.”

Fellow striker and summer signing Curtis Main was ruled out of last night’s game with a thigh strain. Aberdeen were the first to really test a keeper when a cross whipped towards the back post from Ryan Hedges forced a save from Greg Fleming.

Winger Scott Wright stepped past two challenges in the 33rd minute before shooting just over from 20 yards.

Wright was again involved in the 36th minute when he slid a pass to Sam COSGROVE who shot low from 15 yards.

Keeper Fleming got a touch to it but was unable to stop the ball going into the net.

Cosgrove forced another save in the 53rd minute with a low 12-yard drive.

The Dons doubled their advantage in the 70th minute following strong play from Hedges, who picked out Shay LOGAN who rifled home from 10 yards with an impressive finish.

Moments later Lewis Ferguson rattled the cross bar with a 22-yard free kick.

More game time ahead of the Euro tie, another win, a clean sheet and no injuries.

A worthwhile exercise with the bonus of Wilson’s return.

ABERDEEN: Joe Lewis, Shay Logan, Greg Leigh, Andy Considine, Ash Taylor, Lewis Ferguson, Dean Campbell, Ryan Hedges, Scott Wright, Ethan Ross, Sam Cosgrove.

Subs: Mikey Devlin (Leigh 62), Stevie May (for Wright 62), Jon Gallagher (for E Ross 62), Scott McKenna (for Taylor 62), Bruce Anderson (for Cosgrove 80), Seb Ross (for Campbell 80), James Wilson (for Hedges 83). Subs not used: Tomas Cerny, Miko Virtanen.

PETERHEAD: Greg Fleming, Jamie Stevenson, Patrick Boyle, Cameron Eadie, Scott Hooper, Simon Ferry, Aidan Smith, Scott Brown, Rory McAllister, Derek Lyle, Jack Leitch.

Subs: Gary Fraser (for Lyle 31), Jason Brown (for Stevenson 46), Michael Dunlop (for Eadie 60), Ben Armour (for Ferry 76).

Subs not used: Ross Willox, Liam McDonald.

Referee: Graham Beaton.