Making it at Manchester United is a troublesome task, yet Nick Powell is starting to make it look easy.
With a drop of a shoulder and the swipe of a boot, the 18-year-old made an instant impact on his goalscoring Old Trafford debut in September and on Tuesday, in Istanbul, the summer recruit enhanced his burgeoning reputation with another classy display.
Starting as part of a youthful travelling squad, the former Crewe Alexandra star took his full Reds bow at the Turk Telekom Arena, showing great courage and willing each time he received the ball amidst the racket caused by Galatasaray’s ‘welcoming’ crowd.
Powered by exuberance and adrenaline, Powell showcased his blossoming passing ability during an accomplished performance, even pressing high to reclaim possession on several occasions. And of course, the crossbar was all that prevented a goal on 41 minutes.
"He was very good," Michael Carrick told MUTV afterwards. "I spoke to him after the game, saying he'll be an awful lot better for the experience and learning how to handle it. I thought he did ever so well, picking up great positions and he wasn't fazed by anything."
Back in June, Crewe’s academy director Dario Gradi optimistically compared his star pupil to Old Trafford greats Eric Cantona and Wayne Rooney by describing the 18-year-old as “a real match winner who has got everything going for him."
“I used to watch him in Crewe Under-16s' training on a Monday night, and he'd hit them in from everywhere,” added Gradi. “Nick doesn’t have to rely on players to set him up in the six-yard box. He can score great goals and he has signed with a terrific club where he will improve.”
Those were noteworthy words from a man whose ability to develop talent is legendary. Gradi’s view also reveals the extraordinary faith held in his latest protégée, after watching him score 16 goals