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Wednesday 27 August 2014

Debutant James Wilson steals the headlines for United on emotional night at Old Trafford

Paul Hirst

Published 06/05/2014 | 22:01

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Manchester United's James Wilson celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 6, 2014. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
Manchester United's James Wilson celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester

Ryan Giggs made a cameo appearance off the bench and Nemanja Vidic said goodbye to Old Trafford, but it was Manchester United debutant James Wilson who stole the show as he scored twice to sink Hull.

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Wilson, 18, scored from close range either side of half-time, and Robin van Persie also found the net as United beat Hull 3-1 in the final home game of the season.

This year may have been the worst in recent memory, but at least United ended on a high thanks to impressive performances from Wilson, fellow debutant Tom Lawrence and 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj, who was superb throughout.

But for all the energy shown by the three youngsters, it was Giggs who drew the biggest cheer of the night when he came off the bench with 20 minutes to go.

Giggs will not be manager here next year. He may not even play a game for the club again.

Giggs, who is expected to be replaced by Louis van Gaal, wrote in his programme notes that he had not made up his mind about his future, but he added that it had been "an honour and privilege" to manage the club's final three home games of the season.

The midfielder, who gave an emotional message of thanks to the fans after the final whistle, also said in his notes that he was in two minds as to whether he should continue playing under Van Gaal next.

Giggs showed signs that he is still up to the job though as his 40-year-old legs sprinted past Alex Bruce late on.

The interim player-manager almost made it a perfect night when he curled a brilliant 25-yard free-kick over the wall towards goal, but Eldin Jakupovic saved superbly.

Vidic had little to do in his farewell match. Hull were rather abject throughout. Matty Fryatt's long-range strike was the only positive for the FA Cup finalists.

The only downside for United was that Phil Jones was taken to hospital after he suffered a shoulder injury jumping for the ball with Maynor Figueroa in the first half.

Vidic was not in the starting XI, but he took centre stage just before kick-off. The Serbian received a gift, wrapped in United-coloured paper, from Sir Bobby Charlton on the touch line.

Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra - who could also leave this summer - were not in the squad.

Wilson threatened to steal the limelight in the second minute when he shaped to shoot inside the box, but Alex Bruce came to the rescue with a diving interception.

Unlike in their first two matches under Giggs, United were flying early on.

Januzaj slipped into the box after latching on to Antonio Valencia's chip, but he was hacked down by Figueroa.

Referee Craig Pawson waved play on despite the protests of the home side.

United's early dominance started to fizzle out. The hosts were then forced into an early change when Jones and Figueroa clashed shoulder to shoulder while in mid-flight.

Jones came off worse. He was immediately substituted, wincing with pain as he walked down the tunnel.

Vidic came on to huge applause and a standing ovation.

The crowd were on their feet again on the half hour as Wilson scored the opener.

The youngster volleyed home from close range after Marouane Fellaini knocked down Januzaj's free-kick at the back post.

A huge smile stretched across the striker's face as "There's only one James Wilson" rang out on the Stretford End.

Steve Bruce brought on Fryatt and Yannick Sagbo on at the break.

United remained on top though. Januzaj drew a top-class save from Premier League debutant Jakupovic.

Vidic was desperate to go out with a bang. The big centre-half was a constant menace in the box when he came up for set-pieces and he thought he should have had a penalty when Stephen Quinn handled the ball in the box following his header.

The night belonged to Wilson though. The striker was in the right place at the right time to fire United 2-0 up on the hour.

The ball dropped to Wilson after Jakupovic spilled Fellaini's shot and he tucked the ball home.

The crowd sang "Wilson for England" as the smiling teenager celebrated.

Those celebrations were cut short a minute later when Fryatt knocked the ball past Carrick and blasted a 26-yard shot past David de Gea.

Wilson then received a standing ovation and a pat on his back from his manager as he was replaced by Van Persie.

Giggs caused the biggest cheer of the night when he started warming up. Such was the excitement about Giggs' introduction that stewards had to restrain the United fans in the front row of the stand.

After a brief wait, Giggs entered the field in place of Lawrence. The Welshman did not look his age as he raced at the Hull defence.

Giggs thought he should have had a penalty when his low shot struck Alex Bruce's arm.

The 40-year-old then rolled back the years to embarrass the Hull manager's son with a burst of pace.

Meyler threatened to spoil the party with a swirling 25-yard drive, but De Gea saved well.

Every time Giggs touched the ball he was urged to shoot, but he resisted the temptation with three minutes to go, playing the ball forward to Van Persie who fired past Jakupovic at the second attempt after seeing his initial attempt blocked.

Meyler drew the ire of United fans by sinking his studs into Januzaj's shin, but the foul went unpunished.

Giggs had the chance to end night in the perfect fashion, but Jakupovic pulled off a fantastic save to stop his curling free-kick from 25-yards.

Giggs and Vidic then both gave emotional speeches to the crowd before disappearing down the tunnel.

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