Powell can follow Ronaldo’s path at Man Utd

Manchester United’s new signing, former Crewe Alexandra midfielder Nick Powell, has been advised to follow how Cristiano Ronaldo adapted to life at Old Trafford by Crewe director of football Dario Gradi, the BBC has reported.

United wrapped up a deal for 17-year-old Powell this week, paying Alex an undisclosed sum which BBC Stoke puts at an initial £3m, rising to £6m dependent on appearances and the player’s success with his new club.

Gradi, who has overseen the development of a number of big-name players in his nearly 30 years at Crewe, believes the case of Ronaldo, the current captain of Portugal who was 18 when he joined United, is a prime example of what Powell cold achieve. He said: “It’s a big step from our league to the Premier League, but Sir Alex Ferguson told him to accept the challenge. He threw the challenge down to Ronaldo when he came as a kid, and Ronaldo rose to it, so why not [Powell]?

Milan-born Gradi was first appointed as Crewe manager in 1983. In that time the likes of David Platt, a former England captain, Danny Murphy, Robbie Savage, Neil Lennon and Dean Ashton have come through the club’s youth system. Crewe were promoted to League 1 at the end of the season, going up via the play-offs after Powell scored a spectacular goal in the final against Cheltenham.

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