Rewind 12 months, and i guarantee not many people would have predicted that Federico Macheda would be worthy of a starting position in the first team by now, let alone considered a star player.
For the 09/10 title defence campaign, we are probably going to see a 1999 style set up for our strikers, and Macheda will play a similar role to that of Solksjaer/Sheringham, maybe a little less, being mostly a sub who starts only a handful of games. This will be a major stepping stone for his development, as it is quite clear that time on the pitch is the best way to develop a player, and Sir Alex knows this. Remember the 1995/96 season...
Most people will remember Macheda for his maginificent goal under enormous pressure against Aston Villa deep into injury time to win us the match, and will see that as the reason that he is a star. Whilst this certainly was a moment to savour, and one that launched his popularity, this is only partly why the guy is what he is now.
The week prior to him bursting onto the scene with the goal I mentioned earlier, he scored a hat trick for the reserves, completing a record of 8 goals in 8 games, not bad for someone of his age. That, along with his consistent performances throughout the pre-season, shows that he is more than just a one-hit (or should i say "one-goal") wonder.
Whilst there is certainly no denying that Macheda is still not quite as good as Rooney, Berbatov and Owen, 2 or 3 years down the track he will be one of the top strikers in Europe.