Nick Powell can replace Paul Scholes at Manchester United, says Sir Alex Ferguson

 

Sir Alex Ferguson is tipping Nick Powell to eventually replace Paul Scholes at Manchester United.

Powell is presently 699 United appearances and 154 goals behind Scholes following his scoring debut in a 4-0 win over Wigan yesterday.

Yet in pure age terms, he is actually in front of the legendary midfielder.

Scholes was approaching his 20th birthday when he made his first-team debut for the Red Devils.

It was an eye-catching start all right, netting twice in a League Cup tie at Port Vale to launch one of the most illustrious careers English football has ever known.

Powell was not even born at the time. But already the teenager shares a couple of traits with his new team-mate.

His superb goal means the 18-year-old's debut will be remembered. And, just like Scholes, he is not comfortable talking to the media.

Not that Ferguson is fussed about that.

"Nick Powell is going to be a really good player," he said.

"He has a great temperament, is two-footed and quick.

"He is a good physical specimen and has terrific vision.

"We hope Powell fills Paul Scholes' boots. For an 18-year-old boy it has been a terrific day."

Although he accepted an invitation to speak to Manchester United's own TV channel after the game, not even MUTV could put Powell at ease as the former Crewe man tiptoed into the limelight.

"When I first came out onto the pitch, the crowd scared me a little bit," he said.

"I am only used to 5,000 people every now and then.

"It is a great feeling but I will keep myself on the ground."

Powell did admit he is learning a great deal from training alongside Scholes.

"It is unbelievable. He has so much experience," he said.

"He came off when I came on but it was great to be on the pitch with the lot of them, especially Scholes making his 700th appearance for United."

Scholes prodded United in front at the start of the second half, with Javier Hernandez and another debutant Alexander Buttner also on target before Powell struck.

Latics boss Roberto Martinez reacted angrily after the match, claiming - perhaps with some justification - that Danny Welbeck had dived to win United an early penalty and should later have been sent off for a rash tackle on Franco di Santo.

That pales into insignificance, though, against the serious potential for trouble at Anfield next Sunday when United become the first visitors to Liverpool since this week's damning judgement on Hillsborough.

The deaths of 96 supporters at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989 has been used as a baiting tool by United fans, who had been taunted for years about the Munich tragedy, in which eight of their own players were amongst the 21 who lost their lives.

Previously, Ferguson has written to supporters urging them to moderate their behaviour and spoke at length about the common threads that unite England's two most successful clubs on Friday.

However, although it was sung only once, a clearly inflammatory song was aired by a section of the Stretford End yesterday, prompting an immediate reaction from both club and fans' groups.

A United spokesperson said the club "deplore" such songs.

In a statement, United said: "The manager has made the club's position very clear on this matter.

"It is now up to the fans to respect that."

The fear is that in a powder keg atmosphere, made worse by last season's racism row involving Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez, will not take much to spill over into something particularly distasteful.

It has led to the Manchester United Supporters Trust to take the unusual step of appealing for calm.

"Following this week's developments and release of revelatory information on the Hillsborough tragedy, MUST wishes to make it absolutely clear that just as we condemn chants mocking the Munich air disaster we also condemn any chants relating to Hillsborough or indeed any other human tragedy," said chief executive Duncan Drasdo.

"We did hear the usual anti-Liverpool chants at the match today but we're pleased to say there was nothing that was specifically referencing Hillsborough.

"Any attempt to suggest otherwise is irresponsible given the forthcoming fixture between the clubs and furthermore risks needlessly upsetting the bereaved families further at a time when they are understandably trying to find closure.

"We enjoy a fierce rivalry but these issues transcend that rivalry.

"We agree 100% with the statement made by Sir Alex Ferguson - this is the time for supporters of these two great clubs to represent their clubs with the integrity and honour that our glorious history demands."

PA

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Sport
Peter Moores was criticised for failing to handle top players when he last led the England team
sportFive years after being sacked from the job, Peter Moores to be named a cricket coach
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit