I delve into the facts and figures to find out whether Nick Powell will be a success story or a forgotten failure at Man United.
Nick Powell is the new "wonderkid" at Manchester United. Signed from Crewe Alexandra for £4 million, he must be good, surely! Many United fans will have searched his name on youtube, and watched him score 10 screamers from 25 yards. They then automatically think "God, this guy's good". What they haven't checked out are his other stats. They haven't actually seen him play.
I'll start with the actual game. I have seen him play just once, when Crewe visited Valley Parade during the Christmas period. Powell was very unnoticable throughout the game. I remember turning to my dad before the game and saying "watch out for their number 25, he's supposed to be a right player, and he's only 17". My dad then made sure I remembered that I had said this when he blasted over an ambitious shot for the fifth time. All he ever did when he got the ball was shoot, or look to shoot. He is the greediest player I have seen in my time as a football fan. The only noteworthy thing he did during the game was win his side a penalty through the means of a theatrical dive, so he'll fit right in at Man U. (calm down United fans, only a joke!) The resulting spot kick was missed, bringing some justice to the event.
I'd love to go on and say "however, the statistics prove my initial views on Powell wrong" because they don't. Playing in 38 games- 4 of which as a sub- he took a staggering 112 shots- the highest of any player in the division. He was also the player who took the largest amount of shots off target- by a long way- with a huge 68. With just 44 of the 112 being on target, that puts him 8th in the league on that stat. To me, that is appalling. 68 shots off target in one season is an awful record. And only scoring 14 times from those 112 attempts. A goal every 8 shots. So is he really all that to get hyped up about? What about a player who scored just 2 blasts from 25 yards this season, but took 15 shots? That is a better shots:goal ratio than Powell's, yet he is the one being signed by Man United for £4 million.
First of all, the thing to remember is that he is only 18 years of age. He still has a long way to go in terms of development, and Sir Alex Ferguson will mould him into the player that will fit the bill for United. The Scot has also stated that Powell will not be loaned out, further suggesting that he wants time to turn him into the right player, not letting him go to another club and do what he wants, which would be a waste of his and Ferguson's time. I have full confidence that Powell will be turned into a top player. He has the best manager behind him, an unbelievable squad to be working with, and he has only just turned 18 years of age. The fact he was at a press conference with the manager and fellow new signing Shinji Kagawa shows that he is a first team player- if an 18 year old is promoted from the youth team, does he get a big press conference alongside the manager and a player who has been one of the best players in the German Bundesliga over the last 2 seasons? No. Meaning Sir Alex Ferguson sees something in this kid.
Lets just hope he listens. It is his choice. In 5 years time, he could be the first name on Roy Hodgson's England teamsheet. Or he could be scrapping with the hundreds of other players looking for a club in the lower divisions.