With his tongue lodged firmly in his cheek, Vincent Ralph suggests that Doncaster would be better off with a boy band member in their team than a misfiring striker.
It was the football debut written in a Hollywood studio, a moment of unrivalled perfection. A 17-year-old called from the bench with his side trailing 2-1 in a must-win match, and ultimately scoring a winner befitting a World Cup final.
Many young footballers “burst on to the scene” but few do so quite like Federico Macheda. His late winner against Aston Villa played a huge part in Manchester United’s 2009 title win, as did his winning strike in a 2-1 victory at Sunderland a week later.
In little over 45 minutes of top flight football, the Italian had rescued four vital points and been thrust into the spotlight as a result.
But nearly four-and-a-half years later, those heady days have been forgotten, with Macheda scoring just three more goals for United; while loan spells at QPR, Sampdoria and Stuttgart did little more than reinforce his reputation as a two-game-wonder.
Now on loan at Doncaster Rovers, he has the chance to resurrect a career that has not so much stalled as dropped dead.
The striker with the apparent golden touch has scored just three senior goals in the last three seasons. And while at just 22 he has plenty of time to rediscover the form that prompted Sir Alex Ferguson to say he had “something special about him”, I cannot help but think that Doncaster would be wiser putting their faith in their other big name summer “signing”.
One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson may be more publicity stunt than Championship saviour, but he could probably score about as many goals as Macheda managed in the last three years.
Unfortunately, Gabriel Agbonlahor’s welcome-to-football challenge in his testimonial match earlier this month has temporarily put Tomlinson out of action. The singer withdrew from Doncaster’s reserve match against Scunthorpe last week due to injury, but tweeted that he will play in a game in 2014.
Macheda may locate his scoring touch this season, before moving on next summer. But having tried the Premier League, Bundesliga and Serie A with little reward, another unsuccessful loan spell could make it difficult for this one-time wunderkind to attract suitors even with no fee involved.
Tomlinson’s arrival at Doncaster was in part to raise funds for charity. And I am putting my money on him being far more successful in that endeavour than in Macheda rediscovering the form that once caught everyone – perhaps even him – by surprise.
image: © apasciuto