The name Nick Powell has become rather well-known following his goal in the League Two playoff final and subsequent move to Manchester United. However, it’s fair to say Crewe have a ready made replacement. It is testament to their academy that Max Clayton is ready to step into Powell’s shoes and assume the mantle of promising youngster as the Railwaymen begin their assault on League One.
Clayton actually made his debut in April 2011 as a 16-year-old before getting a regular run of games last season, scoring his first league goal against Morecambe in November. He became a more established member of the side, even scoring the crucial goal in the playoff semi final draw with Southend that helped his side on the way to Wembley. And while Powell may have grabbed the headlines at Wembley, Clayton replaced him with ten minutes remaining, showing the Crewe fans that all was not lost without their new found starlet.
One would expect Clayton to play a key role in Crewe’s campaign in League One despite the fact the standard of football will be a step up. That’s the advantage of playing at Crewe, the average age of their line up at Wembley was just 22, with nine of the players having come through the club’s academy. Certainly Steve Davis, the man in charge, feels that Clayton has the potential to develop in a similar way to Powell and perhaps earn himself a move to the big time as well.
The forward has also been impressive when in action for the England U17’s, especially during the Fifa U17 World Cup in 2011 in Mexico, where he scored against Uruguay before England finally exited in the quarter finals, inevitably against the Germans. You can also tell Clayton is a promising player by the fact that he slotted nicely into the habit of missing a penalty in a shootout against Argentina in the second round, though England actually managed to win that exchange.
All eyes will be firmly fixed on the Alexandra Stadium in 2012 then to see if Clayton is made of similar stuff to his former team mate. You can be sure the Premiership scouts will be present, so don’t be surprised if we’re adding Max Clayton to the list of those excellent players who’ve graduated from the Crewe academy and gone on to make a wonderful career in the game at some point in the future.