Belfast Telegraph

Starlet Wilson shines on debut for Red Devils

Manchester United 3 Hull City 1

By Ian Herbert

Ryan Giggs told Manchester United supporters there will be happier times ahead after a desperately disappointing season.

The interim manager delivered an on-pitch address after a 3-1 win over Hull City at Old Trafford, in which he made a late cameo appearance off the bench.

It could prove to be the last time 40-year-old Giggs plays at Old Trafford, with his contract up in the summer and uncertainty over his future.

He made a claim for a penalty, set up a goal for Robin van Persie, and almost scored with a late free-kick.

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

After a season in which Sir Alex Ferguson's successor David Moyes failed to deliver success, and was sacked last month, Giggs insisted United will get back to trophy-winning ways.

Giggs said: "I'd just like to say a big thank you from all the players and all the staff for all your support this year. A special thanks also to Nemanja to who is leaving us this year.

"He goes with our best wishes for success in the coming years.

"We know it has been tough this season and over the years we have been spoilt by the success we have had. You have always supported the team and the staff and I am sure in coming years we will bring you more success.

"I'd like to say keep supporting us, you have seen a little glimpse of the future, this is what this club is about, we never stand still, we give youth a chance as we try and play attractive football.

"We might not always win but keep supporting us and come back soon."

Teenager James Wilson scored twice on his United debut and Giggs said: "It's always been the way at United, to give young players a chance. He's a good player. He's exciting and he's trained with us the last couple of days and not looked out of place."

Giggs, who takes the team to Southampton on Sunday's final day of the Premier League season, stressed he is unaware what United intend to do about the managerial situation.

Dutchman Louis van Gaal is widely expected to be installed as the new boss but Giggs said: "I've not been told anything. I've been left to get on with my job which I'm happy with. I'll carry on doing that until Sunday."

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

Adnan Januzaj, who recently declared for Belgium, slipped into the box after latching on to Antonio Valencia's chip, but he was hacked down by Maynor 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 Phil 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 opening goal.

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 Matty Fryatt and Yannick Sagbo on at the break in a quest to get back on level terms.

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

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 Michael Carrick and blasted a 26-yard shot past David de Gea.

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

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 Tom 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.

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

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 the 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 their emotional speeches to the Old Trafford crowd before disappearing down the tunnel.

Belfast Telegraph


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