In what will be a weekly feature on Sunday evenings, we take a look back over the last seven days in football, and evaluate the three best prospects of the week, and the three most disappointing. This week’s top performer, it has to be said, is pretty unanimous.
1. Federico Macheda, Manchester United
Macheda would have featured in this item even if he was sitting at home watching his television on Sunday. On Monday night he scored a sublime hat-trick in the FA Premeir Reserve League away to Newcastle United including a glorious third where he instantly trapped a long pass before sliding it into the corner with finishing beyond his teenage years. With United’s strikers toiling through injury, the coaching staff at Old Trafford decided to name the young Italian as a substitute for the first team on Sunday against Aston Villa, and he made his debut after an hour, with his team losing 2-1. The rest will be indelibly etched into his memory, as he scored a breathtaking winner in stoppage time with the sort of goal you can only dream about. Quite frankly, nobody else comes close to the number one spot this week.
2. Jonathan Obika, Yeovil Town (on loan from Tottenham Hotspur)
Jonathan Obika put up a good fight though. With Spurs out of the FA Youth Cup and strolling away with their Academy group, the management decided to loan some of their better prospects out for experience. Obika and Andros Townsend headed west to Yeovil, and the Glovers are mighty glad to have them. Obika scored twice this week in 1-0 wins over Swindon and Northampton to give his temporary team six crucial points in the battle against relegation.
3. Miroslav Stoch, Chelsea
Stoch only played fifteen minutes this week, but he became the first player in the list to play in a World Cup Qualifier. Having made his international debut last month, he was a late addition to the Slovakian party to face rivals Czech Republic away in Prague on Wednesday, and was named on the bench for the game. He came on with the game at 1-1 and used his pace and intelligence to good effect, and was on the pitch when Erik Jendrisek’s goal gave Vladimir Weiss’ team a huge victory.
1. Sergio Tejera, Real Mallorca (on loan from Chelsea)
This one is perhaps a bit harsh, but it’s also a summation of a strange few months for Tejera. He was loaned back to his native Spain at the end of the January transfer window with the intention of breaking into Mallorca’s first team. Yet, as of the time of writing, he’s been in their B team, roughly the equivalent of an English Reserve team, and not progressing at all. Saturday saw another Mallorca first-team squad without his name, and you have to wonder what will happen to a player with quite considerable talent.
2. Nathan Baker, Aston Villa
It’s a tough week to find poor performances from prospects, so forgive me for placing Baker in here. He didn’t have the best game for Villa’s Reserves on Monday, conceding a first half penalty to let Tottenham back into a game they won. He wasn’t exceptionally bad, but he can play much better than he ultimately did.
It’s been a positive week for almost every prospect, and since being unavailable through injury isn’t something to be negative about, there’s nobody for spot three.