Macheda could face Middlesbrough

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Sir Alex Ferguson is debating whether to hand Federico Macheda his first Premier League start at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

The Italian teenager has enjoyed an explosive beginning to his United career, scoring winning goals against Aston Villa and Sunderland on his first two substitute appearances.

Although the 17-year-old was not quite as impressive on his first senior start in the FA Cup semi-final Ferguson said: "I was delighted with Macheda's performance at Wembley. Playing your first full game somewhere like that is very difficult but he has done fantastically well."

Paul Scholes, Park Ji-sung and Ben Foster, all unused substitutes in Wednesday's Champions League win over Arsenal, are set to be included, along with Nani, who did not make the bench.

Wes Brown will also be drafted into a squad almost certainly denied the services of Rio Ferdinand with a rib injury.

Macheda offers a vision of the future, his last-gasp strike to overcome Villa contending with Wayne Rooney's Champions League hat-trick against Fenerbahce in 2004 as one of the best debut performances Ferguson has ever seen.

"I don't think I have ever seen a better debut goal than that," said Ferguson. "For a young lad of 17 to come on and score a great 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."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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European News
Ben Foster
Wes Brown
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Paul Scholes
Wayne Rooney
Aston Villa
FA Cup
Ji-Sung Park
Rio Ferdinand

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