News that Manchester United had decided to release Nick Powell earlier this month came as no surprise to anyone and brought to an end what turned into quite a sorry four year episode.
The 22 year old can have few complaints with the decision having never seriously threatened to make the grade at Old Trafford.
At 18, Nick Powell had the world at his feet. He’d just been snapped up by the biggest club in England after impressing in League Two for Crewe Alexandra.
It was a fairytale and very sudden rise for a player who looked set to be the next star to emerge from the famous Crewe academy and make it at the top level.
The fee was set to rise to £6 million depending on appearances but as it turned out probably didn’t get anywhere close to that figure.
In four years at the club, Powell spent only 46 minutes on the pitch in the Premier League for Manchester United and struggled to even break into the team when the changes were rung in the cups.
He appeared just 3 times in his final 3 years at the club with his final showing coming at Bournemouth in the Premier League this term, by which point most United fans had long since given up on Powell developing into the player they’d hoped he would.
While some will question whether Powell ever had the ability to play for one of the biggest clubs in Europe, what is absolutely inexcusable is that poor attitude and a lack of dedication has clearly played a part in his stunted development as a footballer.
Certainly during the Ferguson era at Old Trafford, the very highest standards of professionalism were demanded from United players and Powell, who was given an opportunity that youngsters all over the world dream of, blew his chance.
Injuries may have played their part to a small extent too, but he didn’t do enough in his loan spells away to suggest he deserved to break into the first team fold on his return to Manchester.
At Wigan in 2013-14, the most successful of his loan spells, he made 31 appearances for the club but despite the odd encouraging performance, inconsistency seemed to haunt him and he didn’t really stand out even in the Championship.
His spell at Leicester in 2014-15 was even worse and from the moment his loan was terminated by the Foxes, supposedly due to a lack of dedication in training, the writing was on the wall for Nick Powell’s Manchester United career.
That was certainly the case when he was shipped out to Hull on deadline day of the January transfer window this term and his failure to break into the team at the KC Stadium confirmed the demise of a player who was once considered one of English football’s brightest young talents.
Time still on his hands?
Of course at 22, Powell still has time to turn things around and perhaps his release by Manchester United will be the wake-up call he has long since needed.
His performances for Crewe as a teenager and brief glimpses of quality at Wigan will ensure he finds a new club willing to take a chance on him, but that will most likely be in the Championship and he faces a long battle back if he is ever to make it at the highest level.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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