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By ESPN Staff

Ferguson backs 'cocky' Macheda to shine at United

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson claims that there was "no chance" of him ever letting Federico Macheda go out on loan, and insisted that his "cocky" striker will be one to watch this season.

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After a sensational breakthrough at Old Trafford, in which he scored a last-minute winner against Aston Villa to help United to the 2008-09 Premier League title, Macheda has struggled for first-team opportunities.

The Italy Under-21 international started just three games last season - though he struggled with injuries throughout the campaign - scoring just one goal, in the 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea in April.

There had been reports that Macheda, 18, would be sent out on loan to gain more experience, with clubs in both the Premier League and Serie A thought to be interested in signing him.

But that thought had never entered Ferguson's head, and the United boss believes Macheda will prove his worth this season.

"He is one we have to keep a close eye on," Ferguson told Sky Sports. "He has a cocky arrogance about him. He will argue with players in a training session and he will compete for his ego.

"But he's only 18, he's not 19 until October and we keep forgetting that. He is an exceptional talent and he is tough. He does not get bullied in games.

"He gives as good as he gets. There was no chance of us ever letting him go on loan - he stays here. We need to keep an eye on him."

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