What is a dream debut for an 18-year old kid at Old Trafford? The answers may vary from player to player, but coming on as a 71st minute substitute for club legend Ryan Giggs and rifling in a shot from twenty-five yards is not bad at all. The player in question here is Nick Powell.
A graduate from Crewe Alexandra’s famed youth development system which has produced the likes of Danny Murphy and Dean Ashton, he excelled in the attacking midfield and forward positions at Gresty Road.
Powell had a wonderful final year at Crewe, scoring 15 goals to top the club’s goal-scoring charts in 2011-12 and also caressing a peach of a volley into the top corner in the League Two play-off final against Cheltenham Town to lead the club to promotion.
A move to Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United followed. Powell had a superb debut for United, but appearances were few and far between last year, except for one notably mature performance against Galatasaray away in the Champions League.
At the start of the 2013-14 season, he was sent on loan to Wigan Athletic with regular playing time a priority and necessity for his development. Due to the FA Cup winning exploits of the Latics, Powell’s loan move is giving him valuable European experience.
Although he has blown hot and cold in the Championship, he has been on fire in the Europa League - scoring three goals so far.
Latics manager Owen Coyle has already compared him to Wayne Rooney for his ability to perform a variety of roles with intelligence and maturity.
But Powell's favoured position is central midfield. Add that to his record of 21 goals in 81 games in his career so far and you get a player who might very well turn out to be the goal-scoring creative midfielder that United need.