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Scout report: Nick Powell’s continued rise to stardom

FEATURED COLUMNIST
Editor's Pick
04 Oct 2013, 18:09 IST

Wigan Athletic’s Nick Powell celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal during the UEFA Europa League group D football match between Wigan Athletic and NK Maribor at The DW stadium in Wigan

“I kick a ball around for a living… For ManUtd. YouKnowTheDrill – Respect. Be respected.”

That’s the description on young Nick Powell’s Twitter bio.

The lad must be pretty modest because he can kick the football around well enough to score goals and lay on assists.

The loan system has come to represent a win-win situation for Manchester United over the last few years in terms of developing young talent. And it looks like this year too United have pulled off a smart move by loaning out midfielder Nick Powell to Wigan Athletic.

The name of Nick Powell was doing the rounds this Friday after his impressive showing that helped Wigan to an impressive 3-1 win over Maribor at the DW Stadium in what was the Latics’ first ever European game on home soil.

Powell had two goals to his name, the second of them being a delightful effort that saw him take on two defenders, beat them with his dribble and score past the Maribor keeper with a nicely placed shot.

The goals scored notwithstanding, Powell and Wigan could have scored a whole lot more. Powell himself had an early chance to put Wigan in front, but his push was too weak and was saved by the keeper. He also went on to chip another effort wide in the second half as well as hit the post once with his effort off Jean Beausejour’s cross.

A timely loan move

Powell, 19, was signed by Manchester United last summer from League Two outfit Crewe Alexandra, his home-town club. The deal was set to be in the region of £6 million, accounting for the clauses that included future success and appearances.

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He was always a signing for the future, even with the huge void that existed in the heart of United’s midfield, and consequently ended up making a total of just six appearances for the Red Devils in all competitions – two each in the league, League Cup and UEFA Champions League.

David Moyes, who replaced Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager, has so far shown an inclination to loaning out talented youngsters before giving them a bigger role in the main team. He has done the same for Wilfried Zaha, who despite being bought for over £12 million in January of this year and being amongst the most impressive players on United’s pre-season tour, has not featured much in the first team.

The deadline day loan deal also made perfect sense for Powell as Wigan manager Owen Coyle barely had time to use the funds that he had received from the sale of James McCarthy to Everton. As a result, Powell fits readily into that role vacated by McCarthy and has become an integral part of Coyle’s plan.

Coyle had this to say about Powell just before the game against Maribor: “Nick is going to be an outstanding player. He’s improved already, but there’s still so much more to come from him and Manchester United will end up with a real gem of a lad.”

Coincidentally, Powell’s first-ever goal for United and first in the Premier League came against Wigan in a 4-0 win for the Manchester side on September 15, 2012, coming on as a substitute in the 71st minute for Ryan Giggs.

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