“Nick Powell, 17 years of age, stared in the recent England Under 17s World Cup in Mexico. The attacking midfielder came on as a sub in 18 games last season and showed great skill and potential, but couldn’t find the back of the net. He has already shown in pre-season that he is ready to make a step up and start contributing to Crewe’s goal tally.”
This is what I wrote on August 1st, when writing a preview for WAGU on Crewe Alexandra for the upcoming season. Over 30 appearances and 12 goals later, I wanted to write a follow up on possibly one of the most gifted footballers I have ever seen coming through the ranks at Crewe.
I am not saying that I am the next Paul the Octopus, predicting the future, as 95% of Crewe fans had a very good idea who would be the main man come the end of the season. It’s only been the last few months where football fans around the country have started to mention his name, and for the time being if they could keep quiet and let him get on with his work, that would be appreciated.
Last night I was having dinner with my family and I was talking to my Dad about the latest Crewe game and goings on. Although we no longer live in the area, my Dad has always been interested in the latest developments and attends the occasional away game with me. Of course, we started with the exceptional win over top of the league but the conversation quickly turned to Powell. I reminded my Dad of the first time he had seen him….Last season, away at Shrewsbury. Powell, 16 at the time, came on as a late substitute when we were winning 1-0 and proceeded to tease the Shrewsbury defence with various tricks and step overs.
It was always clear that this boy had talent; from his 18 substitute appearances last season, the majority of fans got to see what he was about, but this season (as you would expect) he has taken it up a notch. Recent goals against Gillingham and Swindon have thrust him into the spotlight, as well as winning the League Two Apprentice of the Year award. He showed a number of strengths against Gillingham; A sweetly struck shot from 30+ yards giving the goal keeper no chance, as well as a tidy finish in the box and to add to that, a brilliant assist after winning the ball on the halfway line. It’s not just his technical ability on the football pitch which stands out, he reads the game like a seasoned pro.
Something that I personally like about Powell is his arrogance. He knows he is a sensational player. He lets other players know he is a sensational player. He lets opposition fans know he is a sensational player. The swagger he has adds to his game and although it has divided the Crewe fans, as long as he is banging in the goals, we are all happy.
Rumours this week are that a 5 million pound bid from Chelsea is about to come in. I think it would be too early to go, but a move to a top Premier League club doesn’t come around often. Dario, Steve and the board won’t let go of him too easily…Ultimately, they want the best for his career, so won’t stand in his way in the future, but it’s important for him to gain more first team experience instead of potentially getting thrown into reserve squads in the top leagues. Ipswich were reported to have had a bid turned down last January. Rightfully so…he won’t leave Crewe unless its to a Premier League side, or big Championship team.
For me, I think he needs to stay at Crewe until next January. We have played very well under Steve Davis and sit 3 points of a playoff position which looked so unlikely 3 months ago. The top 7 is a possibility, and if we can squeeze through, half a season in League One would be good for Nick.
The world is certainly his oyster. I think a lot of Credit must go to Dario and the backroom staff. Powell wasn’t rushed into the team and although a lot of pressure has been on him this season, he seems to be dealing with it well. Lets hope he can carry on this form and drive us into a playoff place where he will have the opportunity to shine infront of the cameras and show the country the whole package!
Written by Hugh Wilson, We Are Going Up’s Crewe Alexandra blogger
Hugh tweets at @Hugh_Wilson