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Former Manchester United prodigy Federico Macheda joked Gary Neville used to "bully" him and other players in training.
United fans and Premier League connoisseurs would best remember the Italian striker for his famous debut goal against Aston Villa at the age of 17. While he enjoyed a wonderful footballing education playing alongside the likes of Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Rio Ferdinand, Macheda could not quite make the grade under Sir Alex Ferguson.
However, as every young player would expect, his ascent into the first team was not a seamless journey. And he offered an insight into the Old Trafford school of hard knocks he was given by the likes of Neville.
Read More: Ex-Man Utd prodigy ‘disappointed’ Sir Alex Ferguson after he ‘begged’ for Serie A move
“I would say Gary Neville,” Macheda said to the Vibe with Five podcast, when asked who the most intimidating player was. “Yeah, Gary in training would sometimes kick you out of nowhere and you don’t know why.
“Sometimes the ball would be on the other side of the pitch and he would just kick you.” When Ferdinand jokingly interrupted and said the Sky Sports pundit was “bullying” Macheda laughed and quickly replied, “yes, he was bullying people”.
Neville’s assertive and perhaps cynical approach to training sessions and educating younger players certainly made first team training sessions even more daunting for the Italian. “It was not easy,” Macheda added, when asked what it was like to train alongside Sir Alex Ferguson’s revered United side.
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“It’s like, if you go to the home of someone else and you don’t know how to act. For me, it was a great moment, but I remember I was very shy.
“I didn’t talk a lot, I didn’t know how to behave, and it was amazing to be there. But for the first, couple of months, it was not easy, because you are scared of what you might say or what you might do.
“You don’t know the habits of the changing room, so you just stay there in your place, go out, come back and then go again.”
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- Gary Neville
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