Federico Macheda - from 'Who?' to 'Hero'

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An unknown teenager who should have been in Italy fired Manchester United back to the top of the Premier League yesterday.

Federico Macheda, the teenager's name, came off the bench to replace Nani in the 60th minute and made it a day to remember when he struck a sensational injury-time winner to sink Aston Villa 3-2 at Old Trafford.

The 17-year-old, nicknamed Kiko by his United team-mates, arrived from the Lazio youth set-up 18 months ago and scored a hat-trick for United’s reserves in the 3-3 draw at Newcastle last Monday.

He was heading back to Italy when Sir Alex Ferguson told him he needed cover with Wayne Rooney suspended and Dimitar Berbatov injured.

"This is the day of my dreams," Macheda told Sky Sports 1, in stilted English. "It was my dream to have my debut and score a goal like that.

"I was going to Italy to play in an international team but the gaffer said I should stay and be on the bench.

"My dad and my family were watching and they deserved this goal."

Fergie watched in admiration but he refused to go overboard about his new star.

He added: "I just said ‘well done’ to him. He will have to keep his feet on the ground.

"He will get a lot of publicity over the next few days and he will have to learn how to handle it."

Watch Federico Macheda's goal against Aston Villa

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