Manchester United's forgotten midfielder Nick Powell made a successful comeback from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for nine months, in an U21 game against Norwich City, which the young Red Devils lost 2-0. It was team Warren Joyce's first loss of the 2015/16 U21 Premier League campaign.
Earlier in the season, the U21 coach had commended the 21-year-old midfielder for his hard work to make a successful comeback and had even suggested that it was the fittest he had seen the midfielder. Powell has struggled to break into the Red Devils' first-team since his arrival from Crewe Alexandra in 2012, with former manager Sir Alex Ferguson predicting a bright future for the youngster. But Joyce is confident he can flourish in the Championship and the Premier League, while admitting that he is too good to play for the reserves.
"He's certainly put in the hours in the gym and on the training pitch, and is probably in the best condition physically he has ever been in his life," Joyce said earlier in the season, as quoted by United's official site.
Powell completed 55 minutes against the Canaries before being replaced by Marcus Rashford, who was recently promoted to the first-team bench for the game against Watford. According to the Manchester Evening News, the former Crewe Alexandra midfielder linked up well with midfield partner Devonte Redmond and constantly tried to pick out a pass for Ashley Fletcher, who was playing upfront.
The 21-year-old midfielder will be keen to get more game time under his belt ahead of the January transfer window, in order to secure a loan move away from the club. He had a successful stint with Wigan Athletic during the 2013/14 campaign, but his spell at Leicester City last season was cut short after he failed to impress then manager Nigel Pearson.
Powell's current contract is set to end next summer, and he is yet to be offered a new deal. Moreover, despite making seven first-team appearances he was not handed a squad number this season, and an impressive loan spell in the second half of the season could be his only route to convince Louis van Gaal to hand him a contract extension with the 20-time English champions.