So the boy done good for United in the final seconds on Sunday. But Tom Mallows warns the future is not always bright for young guns.
You could see it coming though couldn’t you – especially when the referee somehow conjured FIVE minutes of injury time out of nowhere! At that moment it seemed like a good football bet to make that United would grab a winner.
But while the tabloids go crazy over the latest \’teen sensation’, Federico Macheda, a word of warning. For every success there is a failure, like a Premier League rule of nature balancing things out.
Here are a few examples of teenage Premier League stars and their failing counterparts:
Robbie Fowler – Made his debut as an 18-year-old and bagged a debut goal. He then went on a run of 12 goals in his first 13 appearances and has since amassed more than 160 goals in his career, winning 26 England caps.
But for every Fowler there’s a…….. Francis Jeffers.
Franny made his Everton debut as a 16-year-old and quickly formed a goal-scoring partnership with Kevin Campbell. But the big eared wonder got too big for his boots and was sold to Arsenal for a rather ridiculous £11million. It was all downhill from there as Franny flopped at Highbury. In fact he flopped at Everton (again), Charlton, Rangers, Blackburn, Ipswich and now, er…. Sheffield Wednesday.
Wayne Rooney – Everton’s most successful youth product, he announced himself on the world stage with a goal to end Arsenal’s 30-game unbeaten run aged just 16. Like Jeffers he outgrew Everton and demanded to leave, this time to United, and is now a regular for club and country.
But for every Rooney there is a…. Danny Cadamarteri.
Cadamarteri scored five goals in his first nine games for Everton as an 18-year-old, including a goal against Liverpool. But then he disappeared and was flogged to Bradford in 2002. The fact that his career has encompassed Bradford (twice), Fulham, Leeds, Sheffield United, Grays, Leicester, Doncaster and Huddersfield shows where his career gone.
Cesc Fabregas – Made his debut for Arsenal at 16 and quickly established himself as a first-teamer. He has since become a full international and was appointed captain of the Gunners this season.
But for every Cesc there is a…. Hugo Viana. (Or a David Noble, Alberto Mendes or Stephen Hughes if you prefer) Signed for a massive £12million by Bobby Robson at Newcastle, a then 19-year-old Viana disappeared off the face of the earth, barely playing in two years before being flogged back to Sporting. He barely played there either so was sold to Valencia for just £1.5million. He has yet to make a league appearance for them this season.
Michael Owen – England’s boy wonder. He made his Liverpool debut at 17 and scored 18 goals in his first full season before going on to star at the \’98 World Cup. Owen has since had spells at Real Madrid and Newcastle, with a current total of 157 goals, 89 England caps and 40 international goals.
But for every Owen there is a…. Anthony Le Tallec.
Signed by then Liverpool boss Gerard Houiller based on his performances at the Under-17 Championships (always a bad idea) Le Tallec was tipped for the top. But in five years at the club Le Tallec never scored a goal, went on FOUR separate loan deals, and now finds himself back in France with his tail firmly between his legs.
So a word of warning Mr Macheda, as these examples show, you ain’t done nothing yet….