Following a year spent on the periphery of the United first team, what does the next campaign hold for the young midfielder?
A year ago, Nick Powell was coming to the end of a truly spectacular season.
The then-18-year-old would finish the campaign with an outstanding volley that set Crewe on the way to League Two play-off success against Cheltenham.
It would be the last great goal in a season full of them.
And he would also become the first player in Crewe’s history to win all five end-of-year awards including Goal of the Season, Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year.
When he moved to Manchester United the following month, he called it “a dream come true”.
While United fans took to Youtube for a medley of goals so impressive they were sure they had secured someone very special indeed.
And yet almost a year later, Powell has played just 234 minutes of first-team football, with his six appearances spread equally between the Premier League, the Capital One Cup and the Champions League.
When he scored 11 minutes into his debut against Wigan in September, it seemed as if he would continue where he had left off for Crewe. But that has been his only senior goal for United to date.
And while he has excelled for United’s under-21s – and will have learnt a considerable amount from training with the newly-crowned champions – a season of dimly-lit cameos is quite a comedown for a boy grown used to the spotlight.
His time will come. There is no doubt of that. But it is unlikely to be in the short term.
There will come a time for United’s new manager to experiment with youth. But that is unlikely to be in the opening months of his reign.
It is far more likely that Powell will spend the next campaign on loan at another top flight side.
Having grown accustomed to Old Trafford’s inner-workings, it is now time for Powell to show what he can do in the Premier League.
And there will be plenty of clubs willing to give him that chance.
United have been both blessed and burned by the loan system in recent years; the former in its development of Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and Jonny Evans, and the latter most recently in the case of Angelo Henriquez, who has barely had a kick while at Wigan.
But you sense that the club will think long and hard about Powell’s next destination.
With the side that does get him temporarily gifted one of the most exciting prospects in English football.
In time, Powell will become a United first team regular and possibly an all-time great. But for now both the player and his new manager must spend the summer considering his short-term future.
Perhaps he will be thrown in the deep end. But with so little game time this season that seems unlikely.
Still only 19, Powell has everything on his side.
But which side he is turning out for next season remains to be seen. Who knows, David Moyes may loan him to Everton?
Where do you see Powell playing next season? Would you send him on loan or give him a chance in United's first team?
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