Kiko Macheda has given a hint that his time at United is all but over after enduring a frustrating spell of injuries and unsuccessful loan moves. The 21-year-old spoke to the Daily Mail this week and it was clear from his turn of phrase that he doesn’t see a future for himself at Old Trafford.
He said: ‘I played for Manchester United. My dream came true.
‘I was only 17 when I made my debut, though, and when I scored those goals people expected me to become the new Wayne Rooney; the next big thing. How could I when I wasn’t even playing every game?
‘So that bit was not easy to cope with. When I look back, though, I am still happy about it. It was a fairy-tale.’
‘After Manchester it has been a struggle. I have had injuries and loan spells and they haven’t really worked,’ he said. ‘But I am adapting now here at Stuttgart. That takes time. The important thing now is to find my place; get some playing time and develop as a player.
‘Manchester United was more difficult than any club in the world because of the talent of the players there and because of the attention and the pressure.
‘It wouldn’t make sense to go back and do what I have done for the last two years. Maybe in the future I could go back, but not now.’
‘I wouldn’t change anything. If I look back there are things I could have done better.
‘But I tried my best and I am very proud for everything I did. As long as Manchester remembers me then that’s fine.’
Macheda was not in action this week, along with most of the other loanees due to the international break. However, Sam Johnstone, who turned 20 on Monday, started his Walsall career with a clean sheet at Hartlepool.
The ‘keeper, was confident behind an experienced back four as the Saddlers’ continue to push for the League One play-offs. Steve Howard and Anthony Sweeney were both denied by saves from the youngster as Walsall stretched their unbeaten league run to 10 games.
“I work every day with David De Gea, Anders Lindegaard and Ben Amos,” he told the Express & Star. “I am working with some of the best goalkeepers in the world. It’s great experience and we are all young goalkeepers. That’s all great, but I need the experience of League games so I’m grateful for this chance.
“I’m just glad Walsall came in for me and I’m excited to come and play here. I was at Scunthorpe for five months last season and that was a great experience that helped me to grow up. It’s proper football in a proper league – with crowds, where you’re playing for points. It’s the best thing for me. I wanted it and United wanted it.
“I couldn’t go out at the start of the season because Ben was at Hull but, once he came back to United, I wanted to take my chance to go out and learn, and to pick up experience, which you need as a goalkeeper. Hopefully I’m coming in here to help them get into the play-offs. I’m used to winning games at United so I want more of the same.”
Meanwhile, Luke Giverin was not involved in Royal Antwerp’s important victory against Heist in the Belgian Second Division.
Davide Petrucci has returned to United from Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough after failing to overcome a hamstring injury.