Powell: Make it your destiny to come back

3 Jul 2019

Former Charlton player and manager says his journey from being released aged 20 to playing for England can inspire youngsters in the same position

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The advice Chris Powell gave to 20 youngsters released from their academies at a Premier League camp this month was special for a number of reasons. 

As an experienced manager, Powell was able to let the youngsters know what managers look for when players go on trial at clubs, as many of those he was addressing would hope to do.

But his career should also act as an inspiration to those at this month's inaugural Premier League Professional Development Phase Pre-Season Training Camp, held at Loughborough University.

Powell played in the Premier League for Derby County, Charlton Athletic and Watford, and was called up by England, but not before he went through the similar pain of being released.

Let go by Crystal Palace as a 20-year-old, he had to work his way up through the EFL to maintain his footballing dreams.

Powell joined Southend United in 1990 and six years later headed to Derby, a move that resulted in promotion to the Premier League and his debut in the competition the following season. 

Every journey is different

"It was a gamble, but I was still in the game," Powell said of his move to Southend.

"Of course, I wasn't at the top level, which everyone wants to be at.

"I thought, 'Find a level that you can maybe excel at. It might take you a year, it might take you five years.' But my dream was always to come back up."

The camp, for players aged 18-23, provided top-quality training sessions from professional coaches and workshops on career options both in football and outside the game. 

Powell stressed that playing at a lower level can provide a great springboard to reach the top, just as it did for him.

"Don't be embarrassed about the level. Play the game you love and make it almost your destiny in your head that 'I'm going to come back up,' " he told the players.

"The journey, the pathway, for each and every individual will be different, but it will be the one for you."

Also in this series

Part 1: Released players given new start by Premier League
Part 3: 'Pre-season camp showed me I have opportunities'

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