As an Old Trafford crowd lifted the roof off the Theatre of Dreams, the United side piled forward in numbers. The Wigan side, which was crumbling already, had nothing to do but adhere to damage control, due to clear leverage in the attack. The scoreline read 3-0 as United broke through Danny Welbeck down the middle. Robin van Persie made run in behind, but Welbeck’s attempt to find him went in vain as the ball found to Javier Hernandez in some space. 19-year-old Nick Powell dashed forward and received a pass from the Mexican. He faked a shot and went past one defender, creating space enough to have a pop at goal. With that, he unleashed one, attempting to find his debut goal. It was like a strike of lightning that went past the keeper in a flash, as the ball rustled the back of the net.
I remember watching him that evening against Wigan, down with chicken pox, as he gave me a reason to celebrate and forget my wretched disease. That sensational strike gave me a reason to be happy for a week, apart from Alex Buttner’s debut strike. My mom and dad were left to ask what had just transpired, and I replied “You’ve just seen the next footballing superstar rise to the stage”
The 19 year youngster, who was signed from Crewe Alexandra in 2012 for a fee in the region of 6 million, made some sparkling appearances against Chelsea in the League Cup and in the Champions League encounters that whetted the appetite of United fans. Tipped to assume the form of a future United star, Powell spent loan spells at Wigan Athletic and Leicester too.
But whatever was expected out of the Englishman went up in flames soon. He was criticized for his poor attitude and a lack of desire during his stint at Leicester and injuries proved to be detrimental to his career, especially during his times with the Under 21 United squad.
And as per multiple reports from many newspapers, Nick Powell is considering retirement from the game, after being disillusioned with the game and due to his continuously torturing injury problems. It is nothing short of a shame, to be honest. A lad who displayed a lot promise early on, but has now assumed the form of a mere youtube sensation, could be heading towards giving up on playing the beautiful game.
Powell, when playing, can feature as a number ten or as a forward thinking central midfield. He always had a good amount of confidence about him, no matter what he did, with a bit of it due to his height and well-built stature. He had an eye for a pass and was blessed with a pile driver of a right foot and running a YouTube search about “Nick Powell goal v Gillingham”, will tell you why.
Powell is just 21, and it’s needless to say, injury prone. He endured an Achilles tendon problem two seasons ago and is currently nursing a hamstring injury that is set to keep him out for an unknown amount of time. He has reportedly shown a meagre appetite for the game and as evident from his stint under Nigel Pearson, he has shown a little desire of playing the game in a manner in which he used to play.
Louis van Gaal has a number of attacking and central midfielders in the first squad but you can find Powell’s name in United’s Champions League squad, that would face CSKA Moscow next. But, his injury and lack of hunger to step out onto the pitch, is clearly deterring him from playing again. By the looks of it, his future doesn’t lie at Manchester United or doesn’t lie in football at all.
It is truly saddening to see someone as young and once talented as him is losing faith in himself due to injuries. He needs some counselling to get his career back on track. United need to do something that doesn’t force him into a premature retirement. Although, he will probably run down his contract next June, but counselling will ensure that he doesn’t quit the game entirely.
He was that kid, just 2 years older than me, who made me believe in him, and tie strings to him during his debut against Wigan that day. He made me forget that I was sick and down, bringing a smile back to my ailing body’s face.