Sir Alex Ferguson has got a real selection headache on his hands this season when it comes to picking his front line. The return of Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda from loan spells and the retention of Michael Owen on a one-year deal have left the Scottish boss with six strikers at his disposal.
With Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov filling the top slots in the Old Trafford pecking order Ferguson will more than likely be looking for one more forward to complete a regular frontline for the coming season. But are Owen, Macheda and Welbeck good enough for Manchester United?
Owen is the oldest of the trio and the player has looked finished for the past three or four years. A disastrous spell at Newcastle United saw him leave the club on a free transfer and sign for United to the surprise of everyone connected with football. Owen has continued to fluctuate between the substitutes bench and treatment table at Old Trafford making 47 appearances over two seasons scoring 14 goals. It’s not a bad record considering he doesn’t start a vast majority of the games but the money he is on and the fact he isn’t getting any younger makes it all the more puzzling as to why Ferguson game him a contract extension. Yes the goal scoring instincts are still as sharp as ever but the pace and willingness to get into scoring positions has waned to almost zero per cent. Even when Owen does make it onto the field you get the impression he is playing half-heartedly.
As for Welbeck and Macheda there may be a glimmer of hope. However it will be case of one breaking through and one being sold because he isn’t good enough. For me the one who will be told to pack his bag and hunt for pastures new is Macheda. Big things were expected of the Italian after that unbelievable winner against Aston Villa a few years ago. The goal effectively won Man Utd the title that season but in his performances from that moment on have gone downhill. Whenever I’ve seen him play I’ve always found myself irate at his arrogance despite being a poor player. Despite being a young player and highly rated in the Old Trafford corridors he doesn’t seem to have the work ethic or the desire to make something of himself. He’s in a similar vein to Berbatov although the Bulgarian can get away with it because of his supreme talents and knack of being in the right place at the right time. His goal scoring record is pitiful and despite a year in Serie A playing in his home country for Sampdoria he could only manage a handful of goals. Bottom line is Macheda isn’t good enough to cut the mustard in a United shirt.
Welbeck on the other hand looks like he could potentially carve out a successful career in the red half of Manchester. Ferguson rates him very highly and has resisted numerous temptations to sell due to the fact he see’s something special in the forward. His energetic performances at Sunderland last season certainly caught the eye of many a Premiership manager with Steve Bruce desperate to get him back on loan again for the season. The boy is full of running and seems to have a hunger not only to play football but also to win. He was played out of position for most of last season but still managed to bang in six goals and more importantly work extremely hard for a team he would only be playing with for a year. It’s clear he’s got the attitude needed to play for the Premier League champions and there’s no doubt a regular England place is in his future.
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