By Ben Davies
Federico Macheda burst onto the scene with a dramatic last minute winner against Aston Villa, leading to Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler losing his voice as he screamed Macheda’s name. A week later the young Italian was once again the hero, grabbing the winner at the Stadium of Light as Man United struggled to break down a determined Sunderland team. Since then Macheda has struggled with injuries and a slow start to the current season has lead to questions about his credentials as a future Manchester United player.
With the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez during the summer of 2009 perhaps greater expectation was placed on the young shoulders of Macheda. He made his first appearance of the season in the Carling Cup against Wolverhampton Wanders, but was soon replaced by Ritchie De Laet after Fabio had received a straight red card for a professional foul. In November, with Wayne Rooney celebrating the birth of his first child and Dimitar Berbatov struggling with injury, Macheda was awarded his Champions League debut against CSKA Moscow in the 3-3 draw at Old Trafford. He went on to make further appearances against Beşiktaş and Tottenham Hotspur (Carling Cup) before unfortunately suffered a string on injuries, which saw him make his first Premier League appearance in March 2010, in the 4-0 victory over local rivals Bolton Wanderers. He made several substitute appearances for the remainder of the season, with his sole goal coming in the heavyweight clash against Chelsea.
In the current campaign Macheda has yet to reach peak form. In the main he has been selected as lone striker. Playing up front on your own is a tough gig for any striker, never mind a 19 year old. He has looked indecisive at times, which is to be expected – he is learning how to play the role. It took Wayne Rooney some time to fully understand the role. With a lack of first and team reserves action he is perhaps suffering from rustiness – evident in his recent performance against Wolves in the Carling Cup. With Hernandez firing on all cylinders a loan spell in January may be an option, he is need of game time, although Sir Alex may want him to remain close and under supervision.
Macheda is by no means the finished article, and why should he be at such a young age. His finishing ability is second to none, arguably the best finisher at the club. Of course aspects of his game require improving – his holding up of play and decision making, but this will come with time and experience. All players will tell you they can improve some part of their game. Rooney for instance considered himself to be poor at heading the ball – he worked hard on this aspect during the summer of 2009 resulting in several headed goals during the 2009-10 season. With hard work Macheda can enjoy similar success.
Macheda has a bright future; time is certainly on his side. I firmly believe he will regularly score 20+ goals per season , once he has matured and fully developed. What are your thoughts?
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