Macheda in line to face Boro
Sir Alex Ferguson could hand Federico Macheda his first league start at Middlesbrough on Saturday.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 01/05/09 9:53am
Sir Alex Ferguson is contemplating whether to hand Manchester United youngster Federico Macheda his first Premier League start at Middlesbrough on Saturday.
The United boss is set to utilise his full squad at the weekend with the game at the Riverside sandwiched between the two UEFA Champions League semi-final ties with Arsenal.
The Red Devils take a slender 1-0 advantage to Emirates Stadium on Tuesday and Ferguson wants all his top players fit for the clash.
That could mean starts for the likes of Paul Scholes, Ben Foster and Park Ji-Sung after the trio were left on the bench against the Gunners while Nani and 18-year-old Danny Welbeck could also feature.
Macheda burst on to the scene with two goals in his first two appearances and, despite being brought back down to earth with a subdued performance in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton, Ferguson has no doubts that he is ready.
"I was delighted with Macheda's performance at Wembley," Ferguson said.
"Playing your first full game somewhere like that is very difficult but he has done fantastically well.
"I am trying to ensure both Federico and Danny Welbeck feel wanted because they both have the physical strength to cope and they will be involved tomorrow."
Debut to remember
The young Italian hit the headlines with a debut goal after coming off the bench to grab a last minute winner against Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
The stunning goal could yet prove to be the strike which swung the title momentum back in United's favour and Ferguson believes the debut performance is up there with Wayne Rooney's against Fenerbache in 2004 when he hit a hat-trick.
"I don't think I have seen a better debut goal than that," the Scot added.
"For a young lad of 17 to come on and score a goal like that was incredible. I don't think you can match scoring a hat-trick as Wayne did.
"But the difference was he had a bit of experience with Everton and England prior to that. Macheda had none.
"He has the instinct of knowing what to do and when to do it. Against Villa he did not just score, he made an impact on the game with his general play.
"He has certainly proved he is ready."