It is fair to say that Scott Wootton's latest big chance for Manchester United did not end as he would have envisioned.
He gave away a late penalty for a foul on Ramires with the game against Chelsea heading for a 3-2 win for United, and then headed a hopeful upfield ball into the path of Daniel Sturridge in extra time who made it 4-3. United would go onto be eliminated from the League Cup 5-4.
Now the Daily Mirror is reporting that Wootton could leave United at the end of the season, when his contract will be up.
"United’s officials have not offered him a concrete deal – and Wootton (above) may be on his way for a minimal fee next summer if Sir Alex Ferguson does not come up with something shortly. The Merseysider is just 21 and faces a make-or-break spell in his career – but the signs are that he could be moving on."
If the club did decide on the back of Wednesday's performance not to offer him a new contract it would be incredibly harsh, and we hope for his sake it proves not to be the case.
It was only Wootton's third professional appearance, and second start. The very fact Sir Alex Ferguson trusted him to start the match alongside fellow youngster Michael Keane shows the Scotsman does have faith in the player and does consider he can have a Manchester United future.
It should be noted too that had Chelsea not brought on £32 million Eden Hazard and £25 million Oscar to complement £23 million Juan Mata in attack on Wednesday, United so nearly would have won the game, and almost did was it not for Wootton's error of judgement.
Ferguson certainly was not publicly blaming the defender, laying the fault at Nani for failing to keep hold of the ball in the dying moments instead.
Wootton did play well overall on Wednesday, but simply tired as the game went on, which would have led to his late mistakes. The 21-year-old is not used to playing matches at just a high level, and the physical demands and mental concentration required will certainly be different to what he is used to.
But the Mirror is right in that what comes next, will influence Wootton's career. The intention of throwing he and Keane into such a challenging environment, was for it to be a learning experience.
The defender needs to show in training, and over any future opportunities, that he has learned from the game and his late errors. There is a queue ahead of him at Old Trafford when everybody is fit, Vidic, Ferdinand, Jones, Smalling and Evans, mean Wootton is at best sixth choice.
At the end of the season there is no telling whether Ferdinand or even Vidic will be moved on, but Wootton will certainly hope the offer of a new contract arrives soon, so he can continue his progression.
It's simply too early to say one way or another how good he can become at this stage, and writing him off too soon is something the club should be wary of.
Does Wootton have a future at United? Should he get a new contract?
image: © nasmac