Football: Nick Powell
The word had gone out that Crewe Alexandra had found another gem and sightings on television of Nick Powell bursting from the England midfield at the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico appeared to confirm it. In March, in the humble setting of Priestfield Stadium, came proof.
Midway through the first half, Powell, leggy and elegant, picked up a loose ball just outside the centre circle. He spun away from an opponent, glanced up, then dipped a magnificent 30-yard drive into the Gillingham net. The goalkeeper he beat was no mug either – a few months later Southampton paid £1m for Paulo Gazzaniga.
Powell moved on too, to Manchester United for £4m, taking with him all five Crewe end-of-season awards, including one for that goal. He has made two brief appearances for United, during both of which he showed his class, but is otherwise continuing his football education away from the glare and pressures of the first team.
United are determining where to play the level-headed, hard-working 18-year-old. Crewe played him in attack, England Under-17s used him in midfield, but his best position may be as a No 10. Expect to see more of him at Old Trafford, and at the European Under-21 Championship during this summer.