Crewe Alexandra: Ryan Colclough set to benefit from Nick Powell treatment
CREWE starlet Ryan Colclough will follow the Nick Powell blueprint by learning his game on the flank before graduating into a central role.
Manager Steve Davis sees the 18-year-old's long-term future in the middle of the front line, but only after he has served an apprenticeship as a winger.
It was the same trick used with Powell, who was only switched into the middle in the last five months of his career at Gresty Road, with devastating effect.
"I think initially to get him in the team, like we did with Nick Powell, it's better to put him on the wings where it's more straightforward," said Davis.
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"Nick was able to adapt to a more central role as he gained more experience and I think as Ryan gets more games under his belt a similar thing will happen. He's very good off the front man.
"He can pick up things, he can strike the ball and he can score goals. He's already shown that.
"I think eventually he will become a central striker rather than a winger."
It was in a wide right role that Colclough made an eye-catching full debut in a 2-1 win over MK Dons at Gresty Road on Tuesday.
The ex-Haywood Engineering College student shone in the absence of Byron Moore (dead-leg) and Max Clayton (international duty), but should keep his place for the League One trip to Crawley Town tomorrow (3pm).
"He was the obvious choice, he's been doing well in training and I thought he showed against MK Dons how he can cause teams problems," said Davis.
The average age of Crewe's registered squad has been boosted to 22.59 by the arrival of 31-year-old striker Nathan Ellington.
Peterborough United (22.42) are the only team in the three divisions of the Football League to have a younger group of players.
And Davis is ready to throw even more fresh faces into the mix over the next few weeks.
He said: "We utilise everyone as much as we need to and we've got good young players who we need to have a look at and give more experience too.
"If an opportunity arises we will do that, that's what Crewe is about. We give young players an opportunity. We will with Ryan and Max and there may be others to emerge soon, too.
"People forget Chuks Aneke is only 19, too, but he made a difference when he came on against MK Dons."