Last Match: Everton 0-2 United (Holgate, Byrne)
Due to a waterlogged pitch in Southport, United’s clash with Everton was played behind closed doors at Finch Farm. United lost the game 2-0 with goals from Holgate and Byrne. The loss ends United’s run of six wins in a row. However one positive from the game came when 18 year old signing from Newport, Regan Poole came on to make his United debut following a 5 month wait for international clearance.
Line Up: Pereira, Fosu-Mensah, Love, Williams, Riley, Weir, Willock, Redmond, Harrop, Januzaj, Keane. Subs; Henderson, El Fitouri, Poole, Rothwell, Rashford
Late into transfer deadline day Hull confirmed the loan signing of Nick Powell. A player who promised a lot but finds himself aimlessly drifting around the club and dipping in and out of the loan system.
Signing from Crewe Alexandra in 2012, Powell made a promising start at United scoring a goal against Wigan on his debut. He later played well in Champions League games against Cluj and Galatasaray that year. However things did not progress smoothly as Moyes then loaned him out to Wigan Athletic the next year where he scored 7 goals. Last season he was one of the infamous 10 players who started the game against Milton Keynes and was loaned again to Leicester where he had a quiet year.
He famously came on for Juan Mata as United chased the game in Wolfsburg this season. At under-21 level he has played up front on his own and scored 3 goals this season, however there has been reports of bad attitude, turning up late and he was caught drink driving a few years back. He has cited his loan move to Hull down to “Personal Reasons” which the club must respect as they’ve allowed him to leave.
Perhaps for Powell, Hull is a chance for him to mature as a player. His future may not lie within the M60, however there is still a chance for Nick Powell he clearly has the ability but his demeanour and attitude towards the game needs to improve. There are plenty top flight players who took a step down from United in order to get regular Premier League football. Danny Drinkwater and Danny Simpson are thriving at Leicester this season. Robbie Brady is a regular starter for Norwich as is Ryan Shawcross at Stoke.
Player Focus: Guillermo Varela
After playing so well for the first-team on Friday night in Derby, it seems fitting to put the spotlight on Guillermo Varela. Despite turning 23 in March Varela has had a positive impact on the under-21 side since he signed £2 million from Uruguayan club Penarol in 2013. The transfer saw him become the first ever signing under new manager David Moyes.
Since then he had been a regular right-back for the under-21 side before spending last season in Madrid, playing 33 times on loan for Real Madrid Castilla. Varela thrives off an energetic and fearless playing style which includes numerous overlapping runs and confident dribbling. This was highlighted on Friday night as he ran all of 60 yards with the ball. His playing style is comparable to Rafael Da Silva with added temperament.
He has made 4 first team appearances so far this year and is currently filling the void left by Darmian and Valencia. His form, as well as Cameron Borthwick-Jackson’s may be what has prevented Van Gaal signing a new full-back in January. Van Gaal prevented a loan move to Genoa on deadline day which frustrated Guillermo. But he is a great addition to the squad which now has a number of youthful energetic full-backs and with so many games in the calendar he may yet prove himself in the first-team.
It was a quiet week for the under-21 loanees; Sam Johnstone Has only made 1 appearance since going out on loan to PNE and looks as if he has returned to the club as Anders Lindegaard of all people is starting in front of him. Kieran O’Hara was an un-used substitute as Morecambe lost 2-1 to Newport in League 2. In Scotland Tyler Blackett is finding it tough as he did not even make the bench for Celtic at the weekend, however it looks as if he will be staying until the end of the season. Ashley Fletcher played 68 minutes but failed to score as Barnsley beat Swindon 1-0 in League 1.
Next Match: Norwich [H]
There is free entry at Old Trafford as the under-21s look to come back from their loss at Everton as they take on Norwich on Monday 8th Feb, kick off 7pm