After waiting noisily in the wings of the Football League with Crewe, Nick Powell is now ready to command an even greater stage.
The 18-year-old is in South Africa for Manchester United’s pre-season tour.
And the senior contingent have been impressed with what they’ve seen of their new midfielder.
“I think he (Nick Powell) is a fine young prospect,” veteran defender Rio Ferdinand said.
“I’ve seen a few clips of him, watched obviously a few games – he’s got a little bit of an unpredictable style, and can play off the cuff, he will play one and two touch at times, other times he’ll pull something out of the hat that you didn’t expect.
“We have not really been able to see as much (of him) as we would like to in training because we do a lot of short stuff.
“But he’s got a great touch, he’s not afraid, he seems like a confident lad, he’s integrated straight into the squad and for a young lad to come into an environment like Manchester United from a lower league club, you have to say that he’s come in like he’s meant to be there.
“And that’s a great start to any career.”
Alex Ferguson says he doesn’t expect Powell to walk into United’s first team.
But their pre-season tour will at least provide an opportunity for him – and fellow new recruit Shinji Kagawa – to make an early impression.
“So equally for our fans here although we do have Rio (Ferdinand) and Michael Carrick, (Antonio) Valencia, Chicharito (Javier Hernandez), our new signing (Shinji) Kagawa, (Nick) Powell – they’re all here,” Ferguson said.
“Nonetheless, it’s an opportunity to see some young potential at the football club coming through as I’ve always done over the years. We won’t be treating this lightly and we never do.”
On returning from South Africa, United’s pre-season itinerary includes friendlies with Hannover and Barcelona before an opening-day trip to Everton on August 18.