Ferguson delighted with Owen-Macheda partnership

KUALA LUMPUR: Sir Alex Ferguson is delighted with the partnership of Michael Owen and Federico Macheda after they both found the back of the net on their Asian tour.

Owen, who moved to the Red Devils on a free transfer, is proving to be a shrewd buy after bagging his second goal in as many games since making his debut, while Macheda is a player Ferguson has high hopes for. The pair started late on Monday in preference to Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov and the Italian opened the scoring against a Malaysian XI on 11 minutes, finishing coolly a cross from Darren Fletcher.

Owen struck again two minutes later, pouncing on a loose ball in the box after Zoran Tosic crossed from the left, driving it into the net from close range as the Red Devils won 2-0. “If he stays fit it will be an absolute bonus for us,” Ferguson said of Owen, who was sensationally snapped up when his contract with the relegated Newcastle expired.

“There were a couple of cases where he’s shown his real experience, and that’s what he’s really good at, his positioning, and he’s so quick to get to the ball. Again, it was a typical Michael Owen goal. He reacted first and took it well, just as he did on Saturday. His whole contribution was very good so we’re very pleased.”

While Owen has plenty of pedigree, Macheda, at 17, is still learning the ropes although he already has hero status at Old Trafford after scoring a stunning injury time winner on his debut against Aston Villa in April. “We’ve got big hopes for Macheda — that’s one of the main reasons why we didn’t move (for someone else) in the market,” said Ferguson.

After giving all of his 22-strong squad some time on the pitch during their two wins over Malaysia, Ferguson also had praise for some of his younger players, such as Tosic, Jonny Evans, Fabio and Darron Gibson. “They did quite well,” he said. “We have a very good squad of young players, and let’s not forget Anderson is still only 21 and Nani is just 22.

“Everyone came through okay, apart from Fabio who was suffering with a little bit of tiredness and cramp. But overall we’re pleased with how things went.” They next play FC Seoul on Friday, with Park Ji-Sung, who missed the Malaysia leg, joining his teammates in the South Korean capital.

The Asian tour will be wrapped up with a match against Hangzhou Greentown in China on July 26 before they move to Munich for the Audi Cup.