Manchester United U21s manager Warren Joyce has been delighted with the progress Nick Powell has made since returning from injury.
Powell underwent knee surgery earlier this year before returning to training in September. The 21-year-old’s Old Trafford career has never really kicked off after he scored a goal on his home debut against Wigan Athletic.
Since then, injuries and poor loan spells have meant that he has been unable to stake a claim for a place in the side.
Powell joined United in 2012 and has been a fringe player ever since. Unfortunately, he has never been close to securing a place in the team and after suffering a horrible knee injury, he will be focusing on simply getting back to full fitness. His coach, Joyce, is happy with the work Powell has put in to get back to his old self.
“Nick’s worked extremely hard. It’s been a testing time, as you expect when you’re injured and obviously out for this amount of time with an injury. But his attitude has been outstanding in the gym and out on the training field,” Joyce told manutd.com.
“I think, to be fair, he is looking in the best condition he has ever been in his life. Hopefully, he kicks on with that now when the games start coming. There is no doubt how much talent he has got. Some of the stuff you see from him is outstanding. He’s a high top-level talent so hopefully he can get a run of matches.
“He’s certainly put in the hours in the gym and on the training pitch and, like I’ve said, is probably in the best condition physically he has ever been in his life.
Everybody wants to play but the staff are so good at their jobs they keep the players going, keep them motivated, keep them at it and keep them running. So far, so good and I hope he gets over the final hurdle now.”
Now that he is back to fitness, Powell will want to prove what he can do with a ball at his feet. The former Crewe Alexandra midfielder has proven on occasion the talent he possesses but has never been able to replicate that on the biggest stage.
The most important thing for the youngster right now, is to ensure he can get a good run of games under his belt for the U21’s before turning his focus to the first-team. Louis van Gaal is not afraid to give the youngsters a chance and Powell will take solace in this, knowing that if he does well, he will be rewarded.