New Wigan Athletic manager Warren Joyce is confident he can succeed where a number of managers have tried and failed – and realise the full potential of Nick Powell.
Joyce, who takes charge of Latics for the first time this afternoon against Reading, worked with Powell at length during their time together with the Manchester United U-21s.
Powell was released by United in the summer after being sent out three times on loan – including to Wigan in 2013/14 – but Gary Caldwell was unable to back up his pre-season pledge to get the best out of his ex-colleague after his permanent signing.
Joyce, though, is adamant a run of games at a settled club will see a return to former glories for Powell.
“Obviously Nick’s been a little bit unfortunate with injuries during his career,” Joyce acknowledged.
“I think sometimes players go out on loan and, without being too critical, they can go somewhere that, because of the volume of games, they don’t train too much.
“It’s not always an automatic step that going out and playing Championship football helps you become a better player.
“The volume of training our young boys at United had meant that, even when boys who’d played Championship football came back, they found it hard to cope with the tempo and the levels of the training.
“You’re actually trying to develop players for a 15-year career, not trying to save them and get them to peak for a couple of games a week.
“If you looked at the volume of the work we did, your body doesn’t know whether it’s a game or training.
“And over a period of time, that volume of work can develop people just as good if not better than just going out and playing games at Championship level.”
Powell is hoping to have recovered from a hamstring niggle to face Reading, while loan star Adam Le Fondre is available after being ineligible to face parent club Cardiff last weekend, and Max Power returns after suspension.
“Obviously it was a great win at Cardiff, and I’ve probably watched the game four times over to try and know as much I can about the players,” added Joyce.
“But ultimately you find out more about players watching them on the grass with your own eyes.
“I’ve enjoyed training with the boys so far, they’ve been receptive with everything we’ve tried to do. It’s been a very bright start.”