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In a 4-year spell at Man United, decorated with loans, Nick Powell never truly lived up to his initial £3 million transfer fee, making only three appearances for the Red Devils and finding the net once.
However, his one and only goal for Man United – a 20-yard rocket against Wigan – showed us why there is still massive potential in him yet.
How did Nick Powell find himself at Man United aged 18? This was after he impressed Sir Alex Ferguson in the 2011-12 season, where he was playing for Crewe Alexandra.
He made his debut for Crewe aged just 16, in August 2010. He climbed up the ranks, and it wasn’t long before he became a first team regular. Powell scored his first goal for Crewe in a 3-1 win against AFC Wimbledon in October 2011, and he rose from strength to strength, scoring 13 league goals, and helping Crewe reach the League 2 playoffs.
It was in the playoff final where he really proved himself. With his infamous turn and volley outside of the area, Powell helped the Alex beat Cheltenham Town 2-0 and reach League One. Just a month later, Powell was a United player. After struggling to find first team football, the midfielder was sent out on loan to Wigan Athletic for his first taste of Championship (and Europa League) football.
He impressed in his spell, scoring 7 goals, including Wigan’s first ever European goal, and an overhead kick against Bolton.
Powell was also shipped out on loan to recently-promoted top flight side Leicester City and Hull City but struggled to make the same impact.
After being released by United, Powell returned to Wigan Athletic in 2016. Despite scoring 6 goals and scaring Championship defenders with dangerous dribbling, Wigan were relegated to League One.
However, this season, Powell has become a revelation. Still only 23, he is a regular starter for Wigan, and has already scored 12 goals, as Wigan’s Championship return looks imminent. As one of League One’s top scorers, it is no wonder why Premier League club Brighton made two bids for him in the recent January transfer window. If Wigan do get promoted, Powell will have a tough choice on his hands – which of the three leagues is right for him?
Strengths & Weaknesses
Standing at a height of 6’0”, the former United man is better than most people may think in the air, but it is slick dribbling where Powell really comes into his prime.
As a player who can player as a midfielder or attacker, Powell knows how to get past defenders with ease using either pace, aggression or a mixture of both.
He excels at holding onto the ball and recycling it to a team mate, finding pockets of space either in behind or in the hole, and creating chances for his colleagues.
Powell has his issues, however. He is a weak crosser and is sometimes rash in one-on-one situations, attempting to be too clever when it comes to the finishing touch.
Still only 23 years of age, Nick Powell still has many years ahead of him, with lots of energy in his tank. There is no reason why he cannot add to his Premier League appearances in the coming years.
What They Say
Sir Alex Ferguson – Former Manchester United manager
“He is an exceptional talent and has a lot to offer.”
Simon Grayson – Former Sunderland and Preston manager
“I went to watch him in the Cup last Saturday and he was the best player on the pitch… without a shadow of a doubt he’s got unbelievable technique.”