Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill has insisted that Nick Powell is happy at the Bet365 Stadium and also heaped praise onto the attacking midfielder for his performances this campaign.
Powell has been enjoying an excellent season for the Potters and he has often been their go-to player on the field when they have needed to make something happen in the final third. The attacking midfielder has chipped in with an impressive tally of 12 goals and three assists in his 34 Championship appearances so far this term. He was also on target last time out against Bristol City.
The form of Powell unsurprisingly saw him attract some interest during the January transfer window, with Football League World reporting that Newcastle United had made enquiries into his situation at Stoke. That has not impacted his form during the second half of the campaign, and it could signal that other sides might come into the picture for him in the summer transfer window.
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Speaking to the Stoke Sentinel, O’Neill has insisted that Powell is happy at Stoke and is enjoying his football at the moment and enjoying the key role he has within the Potters’ starting line-up. While he also hailed the impact he has had on the side since he took over from Nathan Jones last season.
He said: “What puts Nick Powell in a good place? The player does himself more than anything else.
“Since I’ve come to the club what we’ve got out of him has been terrific. You have to manage Nick but he’s a very, very talented boy.
“He’s at a good age now. He’s just turned 27, he had that big move at a very early point in his career and he’s had to fight his way back after the disappointment of that possibly not working out as he had hoped.
“He’s got so much left in his career and I just think he’s happy at the club, he’s happy where he’s at, happy with the club he’s at, happy with the position he’s playing and you just have to make sure you keep him focused and then you get out of him what we’ve had consistently this season.
“Ultimately since January last season when we brought him into the team, his level of play has been of a very high standard.”
Powell has been an excellent performer for the Potters and arguably their most influential player since O’Neill took over part-way through last season. The 27-year-old has matured into a reliable goal scorer and someone who the Potters can turn to when they need a goal at a vital stage within a game. That shows the turnaround he has made after a difficult start to his time with the club.
Under Jones, Powell never looked like he could be a major influence on the side, but O’Neill has put his faith in him and managed to find the right position for him in the side for him to flourish. The attacking midfielder has shown his versatility in being able to lead the line or play off a striker and has shown real intelligence to his link-up play and ability to be in the right place to finish off chances.
The fact he is happy at Stoke is a major boost because it would not be a surprise to see him attract the attentions of other clubs heading into the summer window. The Potters need to do all they can to keep hold of the 27-year-old as he will be key to helping them kick-on and challenge for the top-six next term.