Adam Marshall sees Nick Powell continue his adaptation at United...
Some may view a pre-season friendly at Glanford Park as a step down for a teenager thrust into the limelight by a glamorous move to Old Trafford, being unveiled alongside Shinji Kagawa, a place on the DHL tour and experiencing the adulation of the fanatical supporters in South Africa and China.
Not only is this disrespectful to a useful League One side, who were always going to provide the sort of opposition that Warren Joyce craves for his young team, but it is a completely wrong assumption.
The Iron's first competitive home fixture of the 2012/2013 season will be against Powell's former club Crewe Alexandra.
Having scored the memorable goal that propelled Alex to promotion via the play-offs, the match would have represented a step up in class for the England Under-18 international. Instead, he was patrolling the midfield against Alan Knill's team with the view that he was perhaps the most certain of the United XI to be in first-team contention after being promised such a role by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Powell did not disappoint, coming to terms with a deeper position than he fulfilled at Crewe and yet retaining a real goal threat. Although Sam Slocombe kept out a couple of his fierce attempts, the home keeper had no chance with an emphatic left-foot drive that registered his first goal for United and earned a draw on the night.
Perhaps more importantly, he slotted in seamlessly alongside the likes of Jesse Lingard, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Davide Petrucci - all players schooled at Carrington. This speaks volumes about the impressive grounding he enjoyed at Gresty Road, where director of football Dario Gradi has long overseen a fruitful youth policy that aims to groom youngsters for the