We've all seen the diabolical, now former force that is, Manchester United this season. Their decline has been so fast that the vast majority of the footballing world is still struggling to get to grips with it. This is Manchester United after all; one of the biggest clubs in the world. They rarely used to lose games and the former fortress that was Old Trafford was always an incredibly intimidating place to go. Well, not anymore.
United's problems are fairly large according to some, with many feeling they lack any real width, a centre-back, particularly with pace, or perhaps a left-back to replace the ageing Patrice Evra. Others feel the central midfield area needs addressing also, with Maroune Fellaini hardly impressing since his arrival from Everton and the likes of Tom Cleverley on the receiving end of some fairly harsh, but perhaps justified, criticism pretty much all season.
A quality central midfield area is something you'd always associate with Manchester United sides over the years, especially in recent times, with the likes of Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Paul Ince and, going a bit further back, Bryan Robson, all going down in history as some of the best players to play in that position for the Red Devils.
Look at the oafish Fellaini, the all energy but little class on the ball Cleverley and the hardly used Shinji Kagawa and it's hard to see United moving forward in that department.
But there is hope. Step forward Nick Powell, currently on-loan at Wigan Athletic.
Seeing as I'm a Wigan fan, I've been watching him for quite some time now and, put bluntly, he's got a huge future in the game. I recall watching him for Crewe a few years back on television and he never scored tap ins or scuffed volleys. He only scores special goals, which immediately got my attention and then, funnily enough, a few years later he's ended up on-loan at my beloved Wigan Athletic.
Powell oozes class. He has an excellent range of passing, arguably something Felliani and Cleverley don't have, he's calm and composed on the ball, similar to the likes of Paul Scholes and other United greats in the way that he rarely gets tackled and you can tell he enjoys playing possession based, technical football. Adding to this, Powell has contributed a hell of a lot to Wigan's good season under new boss Uwe Rosler who, for the record, rates him very highly. As I touched on earlier, he loves to score a scorcher. There's more to him than that though as this video below demonstrates:
There aren't many standout 'ball' players coming through in England at the moment, especially in the Premier League, but Powell is certainly one of them. I have no doubt that if he was playing in the Premier League week in, week out his potential would be spoken about a lot more but Championship football doesn't get the same sort of coverage so he's gone relatively under the radar since his arrival at Manchester United.
Nick Powell's producing impressive performances on a regular basis in the Championship (he was arguably our best player in the Europa League too) and I'd go as far as saying he could easily break into the Manchester United first team next season. For me, he's good enough to at least make their squad at the moment.
David Moyes has a big job in the summer in terms of recruitment, but I hope Nick Powell isn't forced down the pecking order at United with the arrival of big-money signings in central midfield because he's already proven his ability at Wigan, and with a bit of superb coaching that Manchester United can undoubtedly provide, added in with playing in a team with better players around him, Powell could be a big star at United for years to come.
By George Gwillim - Wigan Athletic fan