Nick Powell: The next Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney

Nick Powell wouldn’t have believed his luck when Sir Alex Ferguson told him he was starting against Galatasaray. He looks remarkably similar to another Manchester United star, Wayne Rooney, and here’s why.

Nick Powell signed for Manchester United over the summer from Crewe Alexandra, he was the League Two Play of the Season for the last campaign and he has taken to life at United like a duck to water. He’s even starting to slightly look like another Wayne Rooney.

Powell’s role in the Manchester United side for the Champions League match in Turkey was similar to what Rooney may have been asked to do had he been starting the game. The first similarity to note is the way Powell drops off from the top of the attack and into the midfield to get involved and link up the play.

He effortlessly drifts around the United attacking areas linking up with the full backs to create some extra width or just providing an extra body in the middle to give the midfielders another passing option. He is busy and his movement makes him extremely difficult to mark.

Powell seems to have everything clear in his mind when he is in certain areas of the pitch. If he drifts out wide, he doesn’t try to be anything other than a winger, when he plays through the middle he doesn’t try to be more than an attacking midfielder and he when he plays on the shoulder of a defence he gives into his natural striker instincts.

He’s also busy in and around the penalty area, twisting and turning, looking for that slight advantage which will give him an edge over the opposition defence. He’s not afraid to give and go, he’s not afraid to try and lay a pass for someone and he’s not afraid to send the ball backwards when the situation warrants it.

Of course Rooney is always going to be able to bully an opposition defence more because he is physically stronger and more bulked out than Powell but it’s very clear that the 18-year-old has been paying attention in training to arguably United’s best player.

He is also a little deceptive in terms of his aerial ability. He found some great positions around the pitch against Galatasaray and cracked the woodwork with one header. He is similar to Rooney in this respect because they both seem equally effective in the air inside the final attacking third.

He has a long way to go to become anywhere near as good as Rooney but there are some similarities which United will work hard to develop. He’s only played one game for United in the league this season which he scored in which came as a substitute but expect to see a lot more of him as the season goes on.

image: © nasmac

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