Rising star James Wilson set for new deal with Manchester United
James Wilson is set to sign a new long-term contract as Manchester United step up their efforts to protect their emerging talents.
Wilson marked his first senior appearance for United with two goals in Tuesday night's 3-1 victory over Hull City and is expected to commit his future to the club this month.
The 18-year-old forward had been on the radar of a number of leading European clubs even before his wonderful debut at Old Trafford.
Wilson's deal expires this summer, but United have never had any fears over the teenager leaving and believe he has the ability to stake a claim for a first-team place next season.
United rewarded Adnan Januzaj with a substantial pay rise from £1,000 to £30,000 a week in October after his emergence and Wilson can expect a deal that will reflect his burgeoning reputation.
The Staffordshire-born youngster has already made a remarkable climb up the youth levels. Having made his debut for United's U-21s only in December, he was on the bench for the trip to Newcastle under former United manager David Moyes and Ryan Giggs offered a glimpse of the future by rewarding his progress with a start on Tuesday.
Wilson's goals against Hull mean he has now scored this season for the U-18s, U-19s, U-21s and seniors.
He is in line to be named in Giggs' squad for the final game of the season at Southampton on Sunday and will spend next week with the England U-19s for a training camp ahead of the Euro Elite qualifying round.
United are also keen to persuade Wales U-21 international Tom Lawrence to sign new terms after the midfielder also made his senior debut on Tuesday. Lawrence is also out of contract this summer, but is set to agree a deal, with the 20-year-old to be named in Wales' extended 40-man training squad for the friendly against Holland next month.
Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand has warned that United may live to regret letting his long-time defensive partner Nemanja Vidic leave Old Trafford while still in his prime.
Vidic said his Old Trafford farewell this week ahead of a free transfer summer move to Inter Milan. The Serb has spent eight successful years at United, during which time he has been one of the best defenders in Europe, but the 32-year-old could not agree a new contract with the club.
Former manager Alex Ferguson admits he made a mistake by letting Jaap Stam leave United for Lazio in 2001 at the age of 29 and Ferdinand can see Vidic leaving a similarly large hole.
"Only time will tell if Manchester United regret allowing Nemanja to leave," said Ferdinand. "Obviously, Jaap Stam played on for quite a few years at a good level after he left United and the same thing could happen with Nemanja. He's a great player and it's a shame he had to leave."
Ferdinand is also unsure over his own future. His contract expires at the end of the season and the departure of Moyes and subsequent wait for Louis van Gaal's appointment as manager to be confirmed has left the 35-year-old in limbo.
"The club, at the moment, is in a position where they can't really make any decisions about anything," said Ferdinand. "For me to be saying I want to do this or that is irrelevant. We've got to see who becomes the new manager and boxes will be ticked from there.
"I just want the best solution for the club. Whatever it is, then I'll respect it. After that, I'm open to offers. I'd rather wait and see what happens at United and then there'll be a decision to be made. I won't go below the Conference!
"I've not thought that far ahead, to be honest. I've just been concentrating on getting to the end of the season. I'm fit, I'm healthy and I want to continue playing. I've spoken to a lot of mates of mine in the game and they all say the same thing – keep playing for as long as you can."
Whether or not he is still at the club next season, Ferdinand insists the United players must get behind the next manager and make sure there is no repeat of this campaign. "It's been a disappointing season, 100pc," said Ferdinand.
"The table doesn't lie. We're in a bad position and nobody expected us to go this way. It's for us as players to take responsibility and if you asked anyone in the changing room they'd say we do take responsibility for our performances.
"When we win we're responsible and when we lose we're responsible, that doesn't change. Obviously, the powers that be decided to change the manager. Hopefully, the new guy can come in and change the fortunes of the club.
"There's no point harping on about what David Moyes did and what went wrong. We've got to turn the page. You can't move forward if you keep looking back." (© Daily Telegraph, London)