On his way up through the Crewe Alexandra ranks, he debuted in under-18s football at just 15 and was still only 16 when he made his competitive senior debut at Cheltenham Town in August 2010.
While continuing to impress with the club's Academy and Reserve teams, Nick was sporadically involved at senior level during the 2010/11 season, making one start and 18 substitute appearances.
His breakthrough campaign came in 2011/12, as he played an integral part in the Railwaymen's promotion to League One, bagging a scorching opener in May's Playoff Final victory over Cheltenham Town and scoring 16 times over 45 appearances.
Capped by England at under-16s, under-17s and under-18s level, reports increasingly linked Powell with a further hike up the divisions, with a host of Premier League teams credited with an interest in recent months.
Sir Alex Ferguson and Mike Phelan made a personal check on the 18-year-old in May, watching him in action against Aldershot Town, and took the decision to move quickly and secure the prodigious youngster's signature.