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All change up front for United against Palace — reports

Rumour has it that Robin van Persie's poor form will see him demoted to the bench, with James Wilson handed the striking spot this weekend.

Alex Livesey

Robin van Persie, bless him, hasn't been playing particularly well. Three goals in nine games isn't a completely disastrous return, but he's looked jaded and sluggish whenever he's started, and his finishing isn't anywhere near his best. With Falcao's injury problems persisting and Wayne Rooney apparently a midfielder now, United's forward options are looking a little thing

Which means it's time for Louis van Gaal to continue his war against Manchester United's youth traditions by, er, picking another academy kid. James Wilson has come on as a substitute in both of United's last two games, against Chelsea and Manchester City, and has looked encouragingly slippery both times. And his reward, according to the Mirror, is that he will start against Crystal Palace this weekend.

Apparently, Van Gaal has "already warned his high-profile United players none of them can be sure of their places," and "has been impressed with 18-year-old Wilson since arriving at Old Trafford and is keen to give the youngster the chance he feels he deserves". Van Gaal also recently dictated that Wilson change his squad number to 49, apparently because a striker should always have a number 9 somewhere about his person. Just in case, like.