Coach says forgotten United star ready for first-team challenge

Nick Powell

Nick Powell last featured for Manchester United in their 4-0 defeat to MK Dons in the second round of the Capital One Cup clash last season. Since the defeat to the lower league side, Powell has not made it to Louis van Gaal’s squad.

The 21-year-old was sent on loan to Leicester City last summer. However, his stay at the King Power Stadium was cut short as he was sent back to Old Trafford. It was reported that lack of commitment in the training session forced the Foxes to terminate the loan move at the end of the last year.

Powell was training with United’s U21 side and he picked up a hamstring injury earlier in February, which has kept him out of action. Red Devils’ U21 coach Warren Joyce claims the forgotten star is ready for return and needs first team action as he is too good to spend time with the reserves.

“We’re hoping he will be able to push himself forward – either in the first team or out in the league again. He’s had that already and is really too good for Reserves football,” Joyce told United’s official website.

“He has proved he can play in the Championship but, if he’s got ambition, which I’m sure he has, then he’d want to prove to himself he can play in the Premier League.

“That has got to be his aim. He’s gone step-by-step to get to this stage now and that had to be the carrot dangled in front of him, the prospect of top-flight football in the future, so I am sure all those hours in the gym will be worthwhile.”

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Powell from Crewe Alexandra in 2012 and the Scot had backed him to be a long-term replacement for Paul Scholes. However, things did not go as per the plan as injuries and poor form saw Powell disappear from United’s first team in recent times.

Powell has spent several hours in the gym in the last few months and Joyce believes he has worked extremely hard to regain full fitness. United U21 coach also went on to suggest the player, who can play as midfielder or an attacker, is in the best condition.

“Nick’s worked extremely hard. It’s been a testing time, as you expect when you’re injured and obviously out for this amount of time with an injury. But his attitude has been outstanding in the gym and out on the training field,” United U21 coach explained.

“I think, to be fair, he is looking in the best condition he has ever been in his life. Hopefully, he kicks on with that now when the games start coming. There is no doubt how much talent he has got. Some of the stuff you see from him is outstanding. He’s a high top-level talent so hopefully he can get a run of matches.”

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