Young Italian forward Federico Macheda was snapped up by Manchester United from home-town club Lazio at the tender age of 16 and burst onto the Premier League scene with a spectacular last minute winning goal in his debut game, a 3-2 victory of Aston Villa in April 2009.
He repeated the trick in the next match away to Sunderland, again scoring the winner, ultimately ensuring that the Premier League trophy would stay at Old Trafford for a third consecutive season.
Despite this early blistering form, he struggled to break into the Manchester United first team and made only a handful of appearances in the following two seasons.
He has spent the majority of the last two seasons out on loan- firstly to Sampdoria during the 2010/11 season, and secondly to Queen’s Park Rangers during the latter half of last season. However he endured a fairly torrid time during both spells, again featuring for the first team only intermittently, and failing to score for either club. Injury cut short his stay at QPR and he has since expressed his relief to return to United for pre season training.
Despite failing to make the step up thus far, Sir Alex Ferguson obviously retains hope that the young forward can still live up to his potential, having included him in the squad for United’s pre-season tour of South Africa and the Far East.
Macheda went some way to showing that this faith is warranted, his fine finish proving to be the decisive goal in United’s 1-0 victory against Amazulu in their first warm up game of the tour.
Another loan move has been touted in the press, and with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov to compete with, first team chances could again be few and far between should he remain at Old Trafford.
Regardless of where he ends up this season, Federico Macheda will be desperate to ensure that this is the year when the scintillating talent which has been witnessed in fits and starts over the past few seasons can be materialised into a run of consistent goal scoring form.