James Wilson
James Wilson impressing everyone in training, says Chris Smalling Getty Images/Richard Heathcote

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has pinpointed youngster James Wilson as the club's outstanding performer on the training pitch.

Manager Louis van Gaal has placed his trust in the 19-year-old this season after allowing Danny Welbeck to leave the club for Arsenal during the summer transfer window.

Although he is yet to find the back of the net since his debut double against Hull City at the end of last season, the United youth product has been seen his opportunities in the first team increase in recent months, starting two league games and coming off the bench in a further seven.

Wilson also started in United's 2-0 FA Cup third round win over Yeovil Town on Sunday 4 January and his teammate Smalling believes there should be little surprise as to why Van Gaal is often looking to the youngster to lead his attack.

When asked who has stood out on the training pitch in recent weeks, Smalling told United's official website: "I'd say James Wilson. He's such a threat in terms of he's always looking to run in behind. He is very quick and his finishing, while I wouldn't say it's surprised me, it's just the consistency and how hard he strikes the ball and how well too.

"He's been very good for a lot of this season in training and I think it's only a matter of time before we really see him make a big impact."

Having been backed to contend with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao this season, Wilson has no shortage of admirers. Manager Van Gaal has been vocal in his praise for the youngster throughout the season, while club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also predicted big things for him.