Club: Manchester United
Date of Birth: August 22nd 1991
Place of Birth: Rome, Italy
Previous Club(s): Lazio
In the summer of 2007 Manchester United’s academy scouts began to realise that there was some considerable talent coming out of Italy. They’ve been regular visitors to the peninsula in the time since, signing Davide Petrucci from Roma, but leading the way almost a year before was Federico Macheda, from city rivals Lazio. Despite having a rather Portuguese name, he is very much Italian, even with something of the stereotypically volatile temperament.
He didn’t take much time to settle in in England, jumping right into United’s Under-18 team and leading the line in a team made to score goals. His return of 12 goals in 18 starts as a first-year scholar in a new country was nothing short of superb, showcasing some fantastic technical ability alongside strong, physical play leading the line. His goalscoring exploits led to a promotion into the Reserves midway through the season, where he added two more goals in his three starts.
He’s very good off both feet, especially his right, and can score from anywhere with either deftness of touch or sheer power. His close control allows him to play with his back to goal and beat the man marking him, or feed those playing off him. He needs to get a bit stronger and become more aware as he rounds his game out to get to the higher levels, and needs to remain calm and cool in heated situations, having been dismissed for violent conduct on one occasion and luckily escaping it on another.
After leading United to the Northern Ireland Milk Cup in July and August, Macheda returned to England to sign professional papers after turning 17. Despite pushing into the Reserves late in the previous season he started the year back in the Under-18s, as expected, but was to prove far too good again. With eight goals in thirteen games he stepped up more often to Solskjaer’s Reserve team and is yet to look out of place. With a further seven goals at that level, he’s making a very strong case for the club’s youth and reserve awards. He was named in their revised Champions League squad in January, receiving the number 41 shirt, and has appeared for Italy’s Under-18 team.