It would be fair to say that a year ago only Crewe Alexandra fans really knew who Nick Powell was. Despite the attacking-midfielder making his first-team debut two years ago, he was still very much an unknown.
How quickly things can change. Fast forward to 2012 and Powell after impressive performances in League Two and for England in their youth set-up is now seen as one of the great hopes for the future when the Three Lions can emerge from quarter-final failings to one that can really challenge at major competitions.
Powell despite being only 18 years of age this season faces huge pressure; some may say almost too much pressure for a young footballer to handle.
Sir Alex Ferguson has made it clear that Powell will be part of Manchester United’s first team squad this season. Most fans would have probably expected the youngster to go out on loan to a Championship club and no doubt would have understood that decision had it been made.
After all it is vital young players who have the potential to play for the first-team are given the chance to go out on loan. In many ways that experience brings out the best in their character, teaching them many lessons about first-team football and the aspects of the game that they need to improve.
Going out on loan also represents a chance for those players to get away from the pressure of their parent-club and play for a side with lower expectations. That though doesn’t mean that their level of performance should drop, after all they will still be seen as ‘that player from a big club’ and fans and their manager will expect to see them put in more effort as a result.
So why hasn’t Powell been given that luxury of going out on loan?
You would expect that given his talent that Sir Alex feels that it is vital that the youngster has to be part of the first-team squad where he can come on leaps and bounds throughout the season.
Confidence is also vital in football and you can only imagine how much of a confidence-boost it would have meant for Powell to learn that he would be going straight into the first-team squad. It would have meant that he could just go out and enjoy pre-season without worrying about his short-term future, probably feeling more at home as a result.
Even though there may be a few stumbling learning-blocks along the way (and there will be), there is a lot of excitement about Powell who should have the confidence, hunger and motivation needed to knock the first-team door down and make appearances throughout the season. He has the talent to become a star. It’s up to him to sparkle when given the chance.
By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87