James Wilson
James Wilson scored twice against Hull last season but a return to the first team could be delayed Getty Images/Alex Livesey

Manchester United's injury nightmare continues after striker James Wilson limped out of the Under-21 win over Tottenham Hotspur with a knock to potentially leave manager Louis van Gaal with just 20 senior players to choose from for the visit of Everton this weekend.

Wilson went off at half-time in United's 2-1 win over Spurs on his return from injury with an unconfirmed knock, meaning the 20-time champions of England could be without up to 12 players for the resumption of the Premier League.

Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, defenders Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Reece James, and midfield quintet Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Jesse Lingard complete United's 11-man injury list, while the suspended Wayne Rooney is out until November.

The predicament leaves Van Gaal with wafer-thin resources for the visit of Everton on Sunday 5 October, meaning he could again be forced into delve into the club's academy like against West Ham United when Patrick McNair and Tom Thorpe both made their debuts.

Saidy Janko and Andreas Pereira could yet be called upon to make their first United league starts against Roberto Martinez's men in a move that again highlights both Van Gaal's uneven transfer policy and the club's misfortune with injuries at the start of the season.

The blow is of extra disappointment for Wilson, who, following the departure of Danny Welbeck to Arsenal and the imminent suspension of captain Rooney, will have been hopeful of making an impression on the first team.

After Wilson marked his full debut last season with two goals in a 3-1 win over Hull City, reports indicated Van Gaal had identified the youngster as a successor to Rooney and Robin van Persie in the United attack but injury could yet delay his recall to the first team.

Labelled as a "natural goalscorer" by assistant manager Ryan Giggs during his spell as interim boss, Wilson was omitted from United's pre-season tour to the United States but scored four times in the Manchester Senior Cup final win over Manchester City.

"I hope I've impressed him the gaffer," said Wilson, following the game in August. "I showed him what I can do and hopefully I can get a call-up to do it in the first-team as well.

"The Manchester derby was a great event, scoring four goals and getting the win over our greatest rivals is brilliant. They won the Premier League and wanted to keep success going with the academy. To stop them doing that is great."