Manchester United prodigy James Wilson wants to take advantage of the summer departures of Danny Welbeck and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez to establish himself in the first team.

The 18-year-old forward made a sensational debut under interim manager Ryan Giggs last season, scoring a brace in the 3-1 victory over Hull, and is considered one of the best talents in the Old Trafford youth system.

Manager Louis van Gaal, who has been credited during his career with nurturing new talent, is expected to hand Wilson an important role in the first team this season following the departures of Welbeck to Arsenal and Hernandez's loan to Real Madrid.

Van Gaal has given Wilson chances to prove his worth in both the 2-1 victory over Everton and the 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Sunday 26 October.

"It's an important time for me. Obviously with those two going – Chicha on loan and Danny getting a move to Arsenal – it's given me a great opportunity. It's going to be really important for me to get the minutes on the pitch," Wilson said to Manchester United's official website.

"It's great to be in contention with such names in the world of football as theirs [Rooney and Falcao]. Obviously, with the competition in training and even in the games as well, if I can just get a few minutes here and there, then hopefully I can get my chance further down the line."

Following their latest draw to Chelsea, United visit Manchester City on Sunday 2 November and Wilson is eager for another opportunity to impress the manager.

He said: "They are massive games in terms of the season and with even with the rivalries as well. Obviously it would be great to get on the pitch for a few minutes. Any minutes on the pitch really, whether it's for the first team or the Under-21s is great for me to get my fitness back."

Whens asked about his targets fot the season, Wilson said: "Just to play for the first team as much as I can.

"To get any minutes for any team is vital for my fitness personally. It'll be good to get as many as I can.

But the teenager is aware of the first-team competition and has no problem playing for the Under-21 side whenever he is required.

He said: "It's very, very important because if I'm not getting the minutes on the pitch for the first team, then I'll be happy to play for the Under-21s and get my match fitness in. You can simulate a game in training but it's never going to be the same as a 90-minute game. So it will be good to get minutes on the pitch for the Under-21s as well."