James Wilson-Robin Van Persie
James Wilson and Robin van Persie exchange smiles as the former is substituted after scoring two goals on his Manchester United debut last seasonReuters

Former Manchester United forward Andy Cole believes James Wilson has what it takes to succeed at the Premier League giants but reckons he might have to go on loan first to prove his talent.

New manager Louis van Gaal has been credited during his long successful career with fostering new talent, handing starts to Victor Valdes, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta in Barcelona's first team, while Thomas Muller also earned his first chance at Bayern Munich under him.

And during the humiliating 4-0 Capital One Cup defeat to MK Dons, Van Gaal gave Wilson a chance to prove his worth, with the striker impressing Cole.

"I've got MUTV at home and it gives me the opportunity to watch the young players at Old Trafford and see how they're progressing. Wilson is definitely one for the future," Cole said to Manchester United's official website.

"He scores goals and when you're doing that as a centre-forward at this football club, you always have half a chance. He knows how to hit the back of the net. He finishes well and he's got a good left foot. He's very direct as well - he likes to pick it up and run at people. He'll have a big future."

Having represented England at every level, the 18-year-old is tipped to be one of the next talents to emerge from the Old Trafford youth system. Last season, he had a sensational debut under interim manager Ryan Giggs scoring a brace during the 3-1 victory over Hull.

However, Cole believes that even though Wilson is ready for first-team football, a move on loan might be needed for the striker to prove his worth.

"It is a big step [up to United's senior side]. At some stage, he will be given another chance. If it's not in the first team, he will go out on loan somewhere. When you have talent like that, you have got to give them the opportunity in some shape or form.

"If he doesn't end up in the first team here soon, as we've got some good-quality strikers, I do believe he'll go on loan and, when he goes on loan, he'll do very well."