Federico Macheda
Macheda has returned to Manchester United after suffering an ankle injury. REUTERS

Manchester United have confirmed to Federico Macheda's agent that the striker is likely to be sent on loan in January, in order to build up game time and be able to compete with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez for a starting spot on the squad.

Macheda has featured just five times for Sir Alex Ferguson's first team squad this season, scoring a goal in the club's shock loss to Crystal Palace in the Carling Cup.

Ferguson admitted at the time that the youngsters at United need to get some more game time in the second half of the season, and hinted that he would consider sending the likes of Macheda, Ravel Morrison and Ezekiel Fryers out to other clubs in January.

"We'll be reviewing the whole situation in terms of how we get more games for the players," the manager said after United lost to Crystal Palace.

"Loan deals work well for all the young players in terms of getting game-time and that's what we're looking at with Macheda and Diouf. They need games.

"They're young and every young player wants to play and we have to give them that opportunity."

And now Macheda's agent Giovanni Bia has confirmed it is very likely that the 20 year old will move out on loan in his pursuit of more game time.

"I spoke last week with Ferguson: I think that Federico will play somewhere else in January," Bia told Sportal. "He can no longer continue to be on the field for only 15 or 20 minutes, he must absolutely find more space.

"There are requests, but not from Italy. In the first week of January we will evaluate the proposals that we've received. Macheda's departure, however, has nothing to do with the elimination from the Champions League of United."

Macheda came off the bench in the 82<sup>nd minute for United in their doomed Champions League match against Basel, with a goal desperately needed to draw the match and secure the club's progression to the next round of the tournament.

But the goal never came, and it was obvious that Ferguson had gone with such an inexperienced sub because of his sky-high injury list, which still includes the likes of Javier Hernandez, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen.