Filling Paul Scholes’ boots is a challenge readily accepted by Manchester United new-boy Nick Powell

By Dean Wilkins

After being tipped as Paul Scholes’ replacement not just by critics but by Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United new-boy Nick Powell is ready to fight and live up to high expectations.

The 18-year-old midfielder joined the world’s biggest sports club this summer from League Two flyers Crewe Alexandra and marked his senior debut with a well-struck goal in a 4-0 thumping of Wigan Athletic.

And while the United boss may be utilising his veteran ginger playmaker to see through winning positions while his fitness lasts, he is counting on the youngster to fulfil his promising ability.

“For someone like [Ferguson] to say he thinks you can do that is amazing to hear,” said the England U-19 international.

“The expectations of you are there, but it’s fulfilling that expectation which is the challenge, especially when you consider that there will probably never be another Scholes.

“What he has achieved in his career is more than most people can dream of – to achieve even half of what he has would be brilliant. Hopefully I’m on the right path.”

Powell is likely to play alongside Darren Fletcher and Tom Cleverley in midfield during tonight’s clash against Newcastle in the Capital One Cup.

And while the competition is mainly used as an experience builder for youth and reserve players, Alan Pardew’s Premier League conquerors will still be good competitors for United.

“It will definitely be a good test for us,” he added. “Newcastle did really well last year and were pushing for a top-four place.

“They’re a good side. It’ll be a great experience for whoever is playing this evening and a tough challenge.

“If I’m involved, I hope it’s one I can rise to. If I get my chance, I’m determined to take it with both hands.”

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