Catch up with Nick Powell following his return from injury against Stoke City.
- Latics Listen: Catch Nick Powell's recent interview on episode 26 of our podcast.
- Match Day Programme: Read more from Nick and continue your Mickey Toones caricature collection.
- “I want to play in every game that I physically can, but I just wasn’t right around that time." - Nick Powell.
Nick Powell made his long-awaited return from injury during Wednesday night's 0-0 draw against Stoke City in the Sky Bet Championship. Folllowing 11 weeks on the sidelines due to hamstring and calf injuries, Powell was due to return against Rotherham United last weekend, but when his partner went into labour, the 24-year-old returned home to be with his family.
In an in-depth interview for Wednesday night's match day programme and for episode 26 of our Latics Listen podcast, Powell gave us an update on his personal situation and discussed a number of topics.
You can listen to his interview on the podcast below, or read an excerpt from the interview.
If you're collecting our match day programmes this season, you can still purchase the Nick Powell, Mickey Toones, caricature edition online thanks to Ignition Sports Media.
It’s been an interesting few days for you Nick, you were all set to make your return from injury against Rotherham, but you had to rush back for the birth of your daughter. It must have been a bit of a whirlwind?
“Yeah it was. It was about four weeks ago that my partner said to me ‘I can guarantee you I’ll give birth the day you get back into the squad’, and true to her word she did!
“I was actually named on the bench and we had to change it last minute. The gaffer was great with me and completely understood the situation for me to return home and be with my family.”
How had training been leading up to the game, because as you say, you were ready to go? And how has the recovery process been for you in general?
“The week was good. Getting back into the intensity of training at the level everyone else has been was tough, but apart from that everything has been fine.
“From the Middlesbrough game to the Reading game I’d been struggling. I came off against Reading and then again against Blackburn.
“I want to play in every game that I physically can, but I just wasn’t right around that time.
“I had a good seven weeks with Nick Meace our first team physio and I felt really good. I was sprinting for around four weeks, but when I got back into the group my calf wasn’t up to scratch in training and it’s set me back another three weeks which was the most annoying thing.”
How is that time away from playing? We’ve heard from Michael Jacobs and Gavin
Massey recently and they said the comradery has really helped.
“I had two of the best lads you could be injured with in Crackers and Gav. I get on really well with both of them and Crackers then became my driver for the first four weeks because I’ve got him wrapped round my little finger.
“I’d never say being injured and recovering is fun, because it’s not, it’s hard work, but I could have a laugh with them during it to help us all get through the frustration of not playing.
“I was speaking to Crackers about his injury and he was very frustrated because he’d played the first six or seven games and he was doing well. He had a lengthy injury and he’s not really had that issue in the Championship before.
“It was just as frustrating for me because my injury came last time we were in the Championship and the same thing has happened again, but now all I want to do is finish the season as strongly as I can.”
You very much do your talking on the pitch and we don’t often hear from you off it. What would your message be to people who might want to hear from you more?
“I don’t think I’m particularly interesting, so I don’t know why anyone else would,” Powell joked.
“In all seriousness, I like getting involved with the work the Community Trust do and I think everyone should embrace that whether you’re a footballer or not.
“Helping other people out is what everyone should be doing in life, it’s a choice, but my opinion is that you should do nice things for people.
“With regards to interviews and social media, my work is football, so people see that on the pitch and I try to do my best in every game.
“I like to keep my private life private and I reveal certain things if I feel like I should share them with other people.
“I’d definitely rather have conversations with people in person than on social media. Me posting a photo on Instagram isn’t going to change anyone’s life.”
You’ve got a great reputation amongst our supporters for, let’s say, having a bit of fun after you score goals, care to explain?
“You work so hard in the week leading up to a game and we all want to win at the weekend, so there’s no better feeling than scoring a goal.
“I don’t practice or think about celebrations or anything like that, but sometimes the emotion does take over and I know our fans do like a bit of horseplay, but as long as I’ve got a smile on my face then whatever happens after a goal happens.
“I take things seriously when we’re playing, but there is a side to it when you’re trying to get one over on the other team, we call it ‘weights’, when you’re trying to use your body, a bit like what Bradley Dack did to Nathan Byrne when we played Blackburn, and I’m never going to let Nathan forget that! That sense of a bit of embarrassment is one of the worst feelings you can get on the pitch.
“For us, Reece James seems to put everyone on the floor, that’s why no other team will go near him because he’s just a different level of strength.”
What’s the standout moment for you in that sense when something funny has happened on the pitch?
“It’s got to be against Rotherham in the Championship. It was just one of the strangest things I’ve experienced. Two teams playing against each other with a lot riding on the game for us and their keeper just jumped on my back.
“I’ve never seen it before, I don’t know why he did it, and he was quite a heavy guy.
“It was the weirdest thing, but I got the last laugh anyway.”
You mentioned Reece James and a lot of people have talked about him recently, but you had a similar situation to his when you came on loan here from Manchester United, have you passed any advice on?
“I read what he said about having offers from other clubs and I thought his reasoning was very level-headed.
“I know he’s much-loved here already by the fans and for obvious reasons the players love him.
“Reece is a quiet lad and he wants to get on with his work. He comes in everyday and he’s the same humble person and never changes.
“It was a big decision for him to stay with us when he had opportunities to go to the Premier League and the top end of the Championship.
“He’s taken everything in his stride and there’s very little I can say to him, he’s talented beyond his years and if he doesn’t play for Chelsea it’d be a huge upset because he can play in the Premier League and at international level.”
What is it about Wigan Athletic that you enjoy?
“At the time, I didn’t enjoy my last two years of my contract at Manchester United and I’m not saying that was anyone else’s fault because I just felt lost.
“When my contract at Old Trafford ended, Gary Caldwell was here at Wigan, I still knew a few of the lads and a lot of the staff were here during my first spell at the club. It’s not very far from home either, so it was a comfortable decision for me in a footballing sense.
“The club was back in the Championship and at the time I didn’t want to drop any lower, but then ironically that did happen.
“Without being disrespectful, you don’t enjoy League One if you have ambitions of being a Championship team, but we did in the sense of all of the lads playing well and enjoying our football together.
“First and foremost, we needed a manager to come in and steer us in the right direction and Paul Cook has definitely done that.
“He got us all working together and he kept a good group of lads together from the season before. I enjoyed working with everyone last year and obviously I’m pretty gutted now Dan Burn and Griggy have moved on, but they’ve both earned good moves and in football everyone does have to move on at some point.”