When Nick Powell scored in the 4-0 win over Wigan earlier this season Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said that the midfielder had all the attributes to be considered a natural successor to Paul Scholes.

The evergreen Scholes had opened the scoring but by the end of the game much of the talk was about the fourth goal which had been scored by Powell. The midfielder gave an 18-minute cameo that demonstrated his potential, capping the performance with a fierce 25-yeard drive that gave Ali al-Habsi no chance in the Wigan goal.

Nick Powell
Nick Powell has been touted as a potential successor to Paul Scholes. [Reuters]

"Powell is going to be a really good player who, we hope, will fill Paul Scholes's boots in terms of he's got terrific vision, good temperament, two great feet, is quick and is a great striker of the ball," Ferguson raved after the game.

No pressure then. The 18-year-old admitted he was feeling the nerves, having called the Alexandra Stadium his home, he was now playing in front of more than 70,000 fans at the Theatre of Dreams.

"When I first came on it scared me a little bit, to be fair, because I'm only used to 5,000 people now and then, but it's a great atmosphere - the fans are great. It wasn't the hardest game because they made it easier for me but I'm happy to be on the pitch getting minutes," Powell told the Guardian.

Since that debut goal in September, Powell has made four appearances in the United first team. He appeared in the League Cup loss to Chelsea and twice started in the Champions League against Galatasaray and CFR Cluj.

While his first team appearances have been limited, his development has certainly not stagnated. Going into the Premier League Under-21 fixture against West Ham, Powell had scored three goals to help Manchester United qualify for the Elite Group of the competition.

Against an impressive West Ham side, which featured highly-rated youngsters Dan Potts and Paul McCallum, Powell struck twice to secure a 2-0 win and move United to second in the Elite Group table.

His first demonstrated his strikers instinct as he was quickest to react when Raphael Siegel could only parry a shot from Marnick Vermijl and he pounced on the rebound to open the scoring.

Powell's second was pure instinct as he was faced with a difficult angle but blasted the ball past the keeper to secure the win in the final minutes.

With little talk of Scholes being offered a new deal there could be a chance for Powell to step into the midfielders shoes next season. With a powerful strike, a wonderful range of passing and an assured head on his young shoulder, next season could be an exciting one for the midfielder from Crewe.