Italian U21 close to United return

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Sir Alex Ferguson expects Federico Macheda to be back in a fortnight to ease Manchester United's striker crisis.

Macheda has been limited to just five appearances this season, the last of which came in the Carling Cup quarter-final triumph over Tottenham in December.

Since then, the Italy Under-21 star has been sidelined by a calf strain.

"Macheda started light training this week," said Ferguson.

"He has had a long-term injury which has been disappointing for us because he is such a great talent.

"But he should be back in the football side within two weeks."

Macheda has already been forced to abort one comeback bid but with Michael Owen out for the season and Danny Welbeck spending the remainder of the campaign on loan at Preston, the 18-year-old would offer Ferguson an alternative to his remaining three recognised strikers; Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and untested rookie Mame Biram Diouf.

Certainly there will be no fears for Macheda's temperament, given his explosive introduction to English football last season when he scored a sensational injury-time winner against Aston Villa before netting the goal that secured a vital win at Sunderland.

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Federico Macheda
Premier League
Manchester United

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