Macheda insists he's grown up
Federico Macheda is relieved to be back with Manchester United after a nightmare spell in Italy, and believes he can make the grade. Frustrated at his lack of opportunities at Old Trafford last season, Macheda asked Sir Alex Ferguson if he could leave for a short spell and turned down the option of remaining in the Premier League in favour of a stint with Sampdoria. The move turned out to be a disappointment. Macheda failed to score in his 13 appearances, Samp were relegated and no-one emerged with any credit. Little wonder the 19-year-old is so happy to be back amongst friends, and back amongst the goals after bagging a double in a tour-opening 4-1 win over New England Revolution on Wednesday night. "I am very happy because I had a difficult six months," said Macheda. "I couldn't wait to get back here from Italy, even though it is my own country. "There is a different mentality in Italy. They don't see young players like they do in England. They don't tend to choose them, especially when things are not going well." However, on the basis that anything which does not kill you must be doing some good, Macheda is pleased to have endured the experience. "I am not scarred by it," he said. "You learn a lot from bad experiences. "I grew up as a man. I have another mentality now. "When you leave Manchester United, go somewhere else and come back, you realise how different it all is. "It is better to work really hard and I hope to stay here." Whether that happens depends on how Ferguson chooses to accommodate his six forwards. In addition to Macheda, Danny Welbeck returns from a loan spell and is due to link up with his team-mates in Seattle later on Thursday. Michael Owen has been retained after signing a one-year contract extension and the partnership of Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez was potent enough to keep the joint Golden Boot winner, Dimitar Berbatov, out of the side for the big games towards the end of the campaign. Given such numbers, it would be no surprise if Ferguson utilised the loan system once more, or even sold Berbatov - as looked likely when he did not even make the bench for May's Champions League final defeat to Barcelona at Wembley. For now, Ferguson has to try to squeeze them all in. Hernandez's absence from the opening section of United's five-match United States tour is a help. It will not be long before the Mexican returns, though. And then the problems begin. "The problem for all the strikers last year was that the form of Hernandez was just too good," said Ferguson. "We couldn't leave him out, which caused a headache for me. "I am going to be picking from six strikers, which isn't a bad thing but sometimes that can be a confusing aspect of team choices." The departure of chief executive David Gill from Manchester may halt rumours of an imminent deal to bring Wesley Sneijder to England from Inter Milan. United are clearly interested, though, which will only have been heightened by a belief an alternative target, Samir Nasri, is bound for Manchester City. Ferguson has not shed any light on the matter, although he did deliver some good news about Antonio Valencia, who has returned to Manchester after injuring his ankle on Copa America duty with Ecuador but should be fine for the start of the season. "Antonio has gone straight back to Manchester," said Ferguson after the 4-1 win over New England Revolution in Boston. "He got an injury playing in the first game for Ecuador so he is back in Manchester. "It is nothing serious but he wasn't going to be taking part in the rest of Copa America, so there is no point in him coming out here if he is injured. "We have the facilities back at Carrington. That is the best place for him."
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