Federico Macheda still has a future at Manchester United, but needs more time to improve before he can cement his place in the starting line-up.
That is the view of Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson, when asked about the fledgling career of the young Italian hopeful.
Macheda made an immediate impact by scoring the winning goal on his Manchester United debut against Aston Villa at Old Trafford in 2009, and stole the headlines again in his next game against Sunderland when he also got on the scoresheet.
However the forward struggled to replicate that form, and later struggled to even command a place on the United bench - such is the competition for places amongst Reds strikers, with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen, and the continued progression of Danny Welbeck.
As a result, Macheda was sent out on loan, back to his native Italy with Sampdoria, but the striker failed to make his mark in Serie A with just one goal in 14 appearances.
But despite his lack of form, Ferguson believes Macheda still has great potential, and has backed the Manchester United starlet to prove all his doubters wrong.
"Macheda will turn into a top player," he said. "But he needs more time and space.
"Last season he was at clubs with two different coaches and that is not good. But he is only 20 and we are sure that he will improve."
With an emphasis placed once again in the hands of Manchester United's rising homegrown stars, Macheda will be hoping for another opportunity to show what he can offer, but may be forced to head out on loan in order to fulfil his ambition of regular first-team football.