Is Angelo Henriquez’s loan move echoing those of Rossi and Macheda?

Manchester United's teenage striker was expected to flourish at Wigan; instead he rarely gets a game.

When Manchester United signed Chilean striker Angelo Henriquez in September, there was genuine excitement within Old Trafford that they had found a very special player indeed.

The 18-year-old had scored 11 goals in just 17 games for his previous club Universidad de Chile, and two months after signing for United, he would score on his senior international debut against Serbia.

Fans who flocked to that great football scout Youtube hailed him as the next Javier Hernandez. They spoke of his potential the way they speak of Nick Powell’s now and Paul Pogba’s before him. They say, “Wait and see”.

And yet we are still waiting, because despite going on loan to Wigan in January (and scoring on his debut) Henriquez has rarely been seen since.

As Latics striker Arouna Kone continues to be preferred, and continues to score, the teenage striker has swapped reserve team games for United for Wigan’s bench.

And in so doing his circumstances are starting to echo those of two other United strikers who were loaned to Premier League clubs but rarely played.

When the then-19-year-old Giuseppe Rossi was loaned to Newcastle in 2006, fans in the know waited for him to start hitting the net. Held in high regard at Old Trafford, he was hailed as the most naturally-gifted finisher since Paul Scholes. And yet he made only six appearances for the Magpies, four of which were as a late substitute.

Sir Alex Ferguson would later call Rossi’s loan spell “a wasted exercise”. Before the Italian ultimately proved what all the fuss was about by scoring 54 goals during his time at Spanish side Villarreal.

While Rossi would go on to prove his talent consistently, fellow Italian Federico Macheda has been dining out on one admittedly great goal for nearly four years.

After failing to break into the United first-team following his match-winning strikes against Aston Villa and Sunderland, many expected last season's loan move to QPR to kick-start his career. Instead, just two starts and four substitute appearances followed.

And now a third United striker is facing a lack of games, at a club that previously served one of his club-mates so well. Because Wigan is the side that gave Tom Cleverley the chance to shine in the Premier League and, bereft of strikers, you assumed Henriquez would do the same.

But it turns out that Wigan only need one striker and that is Kone.

Ferguson may now be wondering if he made the right decision in preventing the Chilean from representing his country in the South American Under-20 Championships in January.

Instead he sent him to Wigan to gain Premier League experience. Unfortunately, so far at least, little of that experience has come on the pitch.

Will Angelo Henriquez get more chances for Wigan before the end of the season?  And where do you see him next year - United's first team or back out on loan?

image: © birdies-perch

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