Gradi: Sir Alex challenging Powell to emulate Ronaldo at Man United
Dario Gradi says Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has challenged Nick Powell to emulate Cristiano Ronaldo
Sir Alex Ferguson has challenged new signing Nick Powell to follow in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps at Manchester United, according to Crewe manager Dario Gradi.
The 18-year-old attacking midfielder completed a £6m move to the Red Devils earlier this week after weeks of speculation over his future.
Gradi revealed that Ferguson has promised to give Powell, who signed a four-year deal at Old Trafford, the chance to impress despite his relative inexperience, as the United manager also did when Ronaldo first arrived in the English top flight from Sporting Lisbon.
“What Sir Alex has done is challenge the boy to do what Ronaldo did,” Gradi told United’s website.
“Young players worry about their chances of playing when they go to United. But Sir Alex told Nick, ‘If you do well enough, you’ll get a chance. Ronaldo went on as sub [on his debut against Bolton] and was outstanding so I picked him.’
“Nick has got to be good enough, first of all, in training to be named as a sub but that’s the challenge Sir Alex has given him.”
Gradi has an impressive track record of manufacturing England internationals at Crewe, with former Arsenal midfielder David Platt and ex-Fulham captain Danny Murphy both starting their successful careers at the club.
The 70-year-old described Powell as different to the other players he has helped develop at Crewe, likening United’s new signing to current Arsenal and England youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“Nick Powell is a match winner,” added Gradi. “He doesn’t rely on other people to make the goals for him. He’s not a six-yard box player. In fact, we’ve been trying to encourage him to get in that six-yard box more.
“But he picks the ball up, runs at people and finishes with a goal. He wins matches on his own.
“We’ve had some terrific players at Crewe who went on to play for England, but Nick’s not the same as any of them. He does a similar job to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.”