Published on November 13th, 2012 | by Shaun Thompson2
Nick Powell’s impressive England U21 debut a sign of things to come
Tonight, Stuart Pearce took his U21 England side to Bloomfield Road to host Northern Ireland in a friendly match. Ben Amos and Nick Powell both started the match and fellow goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was also on the bench for England. It was Nick Powell’s first appearance for England at U21 level having represented his country at every level so far.
It took Ben Amos over 15 minutes for his first touch as England dominated the match throughout but the Manchester United stopper wasn’t called into goalmouth action throughout the first half in Blackpool. Ben Amos was replaced by Middlesbrough stopper Jason Steele at the interval having, unfortunately, had nothing to do.
Unlike his club team-mate, Nick Powell was heavily involved throughout the match. The eighteen-year old, in the earlier stages of the first half was struggling to get involved as playing in the #10 role meant he was restricted to drop deep, searching for the ball. Nick did however begin to receive the ball in more prominent areas after a stop-start first half; his passing and delicate touch was evident in these parts and he got a few attacks moving in the latter stages of the first half. Nick Powell did pick up a slight strain late in the half, it seemed, after an air shot was unleashed, but he ran it off almost immediately.
England took the lead on the stroke of half-time; Connor Wickham headed home after a delightful free-kick was swung in by Jordan Henderson.
The former Crewe man was again involved in the second half as England pushed to finish the game off. Powell had two shots in the space of a few minutes, however both were hit well off target and ended up going out for a throw-in. But beyond the poor shooting, Powell had picked up some elusive positions on the pitch during the second half, none more so when he had one of his wayward shots. His back to goal, a throw-in was taken and the midfielder let the ball roll off his chest before taking a shot on first time.
Ten minutes before the end of the match came the spark that Nick Powell is very capable of. Picking the ball up unattained in his own half, and effortlessly glided past two of Northern Ireland’s midfielders with such a pace, he found himself running at the back line. He then had the awareness and maturity to find Connor Wickham in space on the left hand channel, whose shot was deflected into Connor Devlin’s arms.
Wearing all white tonight, Nick Powell looked a little different to how we’ve seen him before but his effortlessly poised performance at Bloomfield Road will have pleased all Manchester United fans and moreso, Sir Alex Ferguson, who would have been keeping a close eye on his performance I’m sure.
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