For years, before the hairdos and the sarongs, before the petulant stamps and the Greek redemptions, David Beckham was best known for one specific moment.
In the opening game of the 1996/97, with a youthful Manchester United side lining up against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park, a fresh-faced Becks picks the ball up just inside his own half, dawdles forward for a yard or two, and then, calm as you like, strokes an inch perfect strike over a helpless Neil Sullivan to announce his place on the world stage.
Now, make no mistake, the curtain-raiser on a new Premier League season is a far cry from an U23s friendly in Belgium on a Friday afternoon, but it just goes to show how eye-catching and memorable that kind of goal can be – and just how significant a strike like that could be to the career of a youngster making his way in the game, as Joe Powell is at the moment.
The 20-year-old may not be on Beckham’s level just yet, and he probably never will be, but his audacious halfway line lob in the 6-0 win over Anderlecht this afternoon might just be the most important goal of his life so far.
The youngster impressed during his loan spell at Northampton Town last season, and even managed a brace of assists in the 8-0 Carabao Cup trouncing of Macclesfield Town last September on his Hammers debut.
In short, he has been knocking on the door for some time, but now he can knock on the door with an iconic goal to his name, and while that maybe shouldn’t matter too much, it definitely will.
Versatile and creative, as described by the Hammers’ official website, there will always be a place for players like Powell in the game, and if he can keep on pulling out the occasional piece of magic like this one on the regular, expect to see him in the Premier League very soon.