Sir Alex Ferguson, today held a press conference to introduce his two new summer signings, who he hopes will reinforce the Red Devils for years to come. This could be part of the last team Sir Alex will build as the manager of Manchester United. I am not saying he will retire soon, just that he seems to be creating a team that will last the next four to five seasons, at least.
“We’ve always done well in terms of getting players at the end of season, instead of waiting all summer. In Kagawa’s case, there was a fair bit of negotiating and that kept going for weeks. As for Powell, we knew Dario Gradi [Crewe Alexandra director of football] would help us do the deal quickly.” – Sir Alex Ferguson
Nick Powell, who signed for Manchester United from Crewe Alexandra, for a reported initial fee of £3m, rising to £6m, depending on his success and appearances. The England U18 international seems to have the talent to progress within Manchester United, or Sir Alex Ferguson would not have gone in to get him at such an early stage in his career.
During the press conference, the Manchester United manager talked about both his new signings. He talked about Powell and where he would play. He said he had discussed the potential position for Powell to play, with Dario Gradi, the director of football for Crewe Alexandra. When both Ferguson and Phelan had watch Powell for Crewe, he was played as a deep-lying forward.
“I asked Dario if Nick could be a central midfielder. Dario thinks that’s his position and Nick does too so we’re all in accord. We hope he’ll be a central midfield player and that’s where we’ll develop him.” – Sir Alex Ferguson
My analysis of what has been said is that Sir Alex Ferguson was not sure whether to develop Powell’s talents as a deep-lying forward, or as a central midfielder. Dario Gradi, Sir Alex Ferguson and Nick Powell himself, think he is better as a central midfielder. This has caused a bit of an uproar on twitter with fans saying “believe me he [Sir Alex] will say Powell will learn from Paul Scholes and when Scholes retires, he will be ready to replace him”, also another one said “We’ve been here before with Alan Smith. Look how well that turned out” they went on to say that developing a striker into a midfielder does not work that well. The funny thing is, Nick Powell was never a striker! He did play in forward positions for Crewe Alexandra though.
Who knows best? Fans on twitter? or Sir Alex Ferguson, a manager who has developed talent from youth for over 25 years, Dario Gradi, the director of football for Crewe Alexandra, who actually knows the player and how he plays best, or Nick Powell, who himself feels he is a better player in a central midfield position? Personally I would always put my trust in the people who develop players on a day-to-day basis, over anyone on twitter. Yes everyone is entitled to their opinions, but they should really think them through a bit more!!
I have seen Powell play quite a few times for Crewe Alexandra last season, and he seems a good talent to have. Maybe a little raw for Manchester United right now, but his ability will come along better in the coming months and years. He has been included in the first team squad for this season, which leads some people to believe that Sir Alex is going to use him in some games. I am sure he will stick to the league cup games, as he does for reserve players. I am sure Powell will play more for the reserve team, than the first team.
Sir Alex Ferguson spoke about Powell having to bide his time for his competitive debut. This looks certain that he will not be thrown straight into the starting line-up, like some people assume. He will be given time to develop and find his feet. He will almost certainly have game time with the reserve team, although Sir Alex has not mentioned this.
“I think in Nick’s case, he’s got a bit of physical development to do, just as we would expect of an 18-year-old. But he’ll be in the first-team squad and train with us every day.”
“Football throws up opportunities for young players and we play young players all the time,” – Sir Alex Ferguson
I am sure we will see more and more from Powell this season, but he will be taken on the pre-season tour of South Africa and China, and he might even travel to Norway, Sweden and Germany, although most members of the first team that played in the UEFA European Championships earlier this summer, will be back and training by the time the squad is chosen.
I look forward to seeing both of our new signings play their first games for Manchester United in South Africa next week.
As a reminder, the Red Devils play AmaZulu FC in Durban on Wednesday 18th July, Ajax Cape Town in Cape Town on Saturday 21st July and Shanghai Shenhua in Shanghai on Wednesday 25th July. All matches will be live an exclusive on MUTV.
By Paul Bienkowski