As we head into another interesting summer transfer window, the rumour mills are turning once more. This week, the latest player linked with Town is Liverpool’s highly-rated winger Harry Wilson.
This piece is a comprehensive guide of who Harry Wilson is and what he may offer if he was to join Town ahead of their second full season in the Premier League.
Who is Harry Wilson?
Born in Wrexham, Harry Wilson’s footballing journey began at an early age as he was signed to play for Liverpool’s Under-9 side.
Having progressed and developed through the Liverpool academy set-up, Wilson officially became a full-time member of Liverpool’s academy at the age of 15.
Already, it was clear to see how highly rated Wilson was as he was a regular face in the Under 18 side as well as featuring for Liverpool’s Under-16 side.
It was following an impressive showing at the prestigious Ajax Future Cup that Wilson was offered his first professional contract at Liverpool and his subsequent performances in the Uefa Youth League for Liverpool appeared to fully justify that decision.
As Wilson’s stock continued to rise, he became Liverpool’s Under-23 captain and found himself in a difficult position. As he reached the stage in his development where he needed first team football, this was always going to be far from guaranteed at Liverpool.
This led to Harry Wilson leaving the Premier League giants on loan.
Wilson’s first loan spell was with Crewe Alexandra during the 15-16 season. However, it was not as successful as it could’ve been due to injury which prematurely curtailed his time with the Cheshire club.
It was during his second loan stint away from Liverpool which appeared to be his coming-of- age moment. This came in the second half of last season’s campaign. After joining Nigel Adkins’ Hull City, Wilson starred for the then Championship strugglers.
With seven goals and four assists in just thirteen Championship matches, Harry Wilson played a critical role in Hull City’s revival as they staved off the serious threat of relegation.
In response to Wilson’s performances, Liverpool’s Under-23 head coach Neil Critchley was quick to lavish praise on the 21-year-old winger:
“I’m not surprised at all by how well he’s done on loan. Harry has always had that goalscoring instinct and quality in front of goal.
“His consistency has got better and he has improved. He has matured, he has grown up and is becoming a man.
“What sets him apart is his intelligence. He picks things up very quickly, he’s a good learner and I think he is going to be a really interesting player for the future.”
The Expert’s View
“Harry Wilson was earmarked as a potential star for club and country from a very early age. He became Wales’s youngest international well before his 17th birthday and was a star at youth level.
However, he was recalled from a loan spell at Crewe Alexandra after just seven appearances and injuries at key times meant he found it difficult to catch the managers eye on his return.
Since the summer of 2016, he can reasonably believe he has done everything asked of him. He was made captain of the U-23s and scored goals for fun, including goals at big moments in key games.
He continued that form for Hull City on loan at a tough time in their season, proving he has what it takes to perform when it really matters.
His next step is to perform at a higher level than the lower half of the championship. I would imagine Liverpool will look to loan him to a lower premier league club next season, although there are rumours of Glasgow Rangers with Steven Gerrard too.
The concerns since the failed Crewe loan have always been that he is too slight and not quite quick enough to make up for it.
However don’t be fooled by the baby face and slicked back hair, he’s a determined young footballer determined to prove he can make it at the very top”.
This summer, David Wagner’s task is quite a straightforward one. As the joint-lowest scorers in the Premier League last season, principally, he needs to add more goals to his side.
With the need to address and potentially re-build his attack, Wagner is likely to be focused on adding quality end product and creativity in the wide areas.
The arrival of Alex Pritchard in January added some creativity and innovation in the final third.
However, with both of Town’s first choice wingers (Rajiv van La Parra and Tom Ince) unable to register a single Premier League assist last season, it is clearly an area which needs addressing.
As a winger who can feature on either flank, it is no surprise that Harry Wilson as a versatile attacking option is on Wagner’s radar.
Whilst it would be a gamble, Wilson has shown how much of an impact he can have and more importantly, he has shown that he can be a regular source of goals, both as a scorer and a provider.
The risk element is asking a relatively inexperienced 21-year-old to make the step up to the Premier League and be as effective as he was in the Championship.
Yet, David Wagner has often turned that inexperience into a weapon of choice. There is no mental baggage or scarring which experience can bring. Instead, Wilson would arrive young, hungry, fearless and with a point to prove.
A player who would no doubt improve under David Wagner’s tutelage, especially if he gets the opportunity to play regular first team football at the highest level.
What came somewhat as a surprise about last season’s recruitment was the absence of Premier League loanees to add further depth and quality to Town’s squad.
The fact that Wilson has been linked with Town and that Town have registered an interest would suggest that Town will be looking to use the Premier League loan market, this summer.
If that is the case, Harry Wilson could prove to be Wagner’s latest loan masterstroke.