When Manchester United signed Nick Powell from Crewe Alexandra in the summer, few people batted an eyelid but those who had seen the 18-year-old play for Crewe Alexandra that year knew what a talent he was.
After netting a wonder goal in the play-off final, he was thrust into the limelight and a superb goal on his debut against Wigan has introduced him firmly to the squad.
Sir Alex Ferguson has even gone as far as saying that Nick Powell can be the long term successor to Paul Scholes and speaking to United Review about whether he was excited or nervous to have such expectation of him, he said:
“A bit of both really. For someone like him to say he thinks you can do that is amazing to hear.
“The expectations of you are there, but it’s fulfilling those expectations which is the challenge, especially when you consider that there will probably never be another Scholes.
“What he has achieved in his career is more than most people can dream of – to achieve even half of what he has would be brilliant. Hopefully I’m on the right path.”
Newcastle’s visit to Old Trafford tonight in the Capital One Cup is a massive opportunity for Powell. Mike Phelan has confirmed that United will be sending out a relatively inexperienced squad, as is traditional for us in the League Cup, and Powell might be in line to start alongside Darren Fletcher after Sir Alex said it was the “perfect” game for him to make his full return.
“If I’m involved, I hope it’s one I can rise to. If I get my chance, I’m determined to take it with both hands.” Nick Powell
Although with Anderson and Cleverley both in need of game time, Powell may have to settle for a substitute appearance in the match.
Speaking about the possibility of playing tonight, he said:
“It will definitely be a good test for us,” he insisted. “Newcastle did really well last year and were pushing for a top-four place. They’re a good side. It’ll be a great experience for whoever is playing this evening and a tough challenge.
The future certainly bodes well for a player who has been praised for his attitude and maturity since arriving at Old Trafford. At 18, he has plenty of time to grow into United and if the start of it is anything to go by, we’ve got a star on our hands.