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Forgotten Man United star explains underrated trait of ex-Old Trafford manager



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Federico Macheda’s name has been mentioned frequently in the last week following Kobbie Mainoo’s goal against Liverpool at Old Trafford.

With the score tied at 1-1 between Manchester United and Liverpool last weekend, Kobbie Mainoo produced yet another moment of magic in the second half, swivelling in the penalty area with his back to goal to unleash a lovely strike past Caoimhin Kelleher to hand the home side a lead.

Although Mohammed Salah’s penalty equalised the score against Erik ten Hag‘s men, with the two sides ending in a 2-2 stalemate, Mainoo’s brilliant effort has been very much likened to Federico Macheda’s winning goal against Aston Villa in April 2009.

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Macheda’s career at Old Trafford did not really kick on following his debut goal. The forward played 36 times for the club and scored five goals under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Macheda spent the rest of his career bouncing from club to club. He went on loan to Sampdoria, Queens Park Rangers, Stuttgart, Doncaster Rovers, Birmingham City, and then Cardiff City under former United player and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær before a brief spell at Nottingham Forest and then Novara and Panathinaikos in Greece before a move to Turkey in 2022.

He now plays for Ankaragücü in the Turkish Süper Lig.

Macheda came into contact with legendary striker Solskjær on multiple occasions, both as part of United’s reserve team when he was younger and then again when Solskjær was manager of Cardiff City.

Speaking to The Athletic recently, Macheda explained how the Norweigan helped him during his career as a striker and that he really paid attention to training strikers, which is an underrated part of his managerial style.

“Ole was in charge of United’s reserves and helped me a lot,” Macheda said. “He also took me to Cardiff City. He paid attention to strikers because he’d been a great one himself.

“He told me the secrets of striking, he coached us after training, getting us to do extra finishing and encouraged us to score the scruffy goals too. I knew how to finish but he made me better. I wish every young striker would have someone like Ole working with them.”

This was evident during Solskjær’s time as United manager. While at United, almost all of Solskjær’s forwards enjoyed prolific seasons. Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, and Anthony Martial all had high-scoring seasons, with each player, with the exception of Rashford, failing to replicate them since.