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Manchester United jet in €9m striker Bébé to play Waterford United

The Portuguese forward is set to line up at the Waterford RSC with Federico Macheda.

Tiago Bébé celebrates a goal against Wolves.
Tiago Bébé celebrates a goal against Wolves.
Image: Martin Rickett/PA Archive

THE CREAM OF Manchester United’s talent, minus want-away striker Wayne Rooney, are currently in Sydney on the second leg of a mammoth preseason tour.

The Red Devils will field an entirely different side against Waterford United on Thursday and have left behind a squad with Premier and Champions League experience. Among the squad that will make up the Manchester United XI side are Federico Macheda, Scott Wootton and Tiago Bébé.

Macheda is fondly remembered by United fans for the injury time goal he scored to earn the side a late win against Aston Villa in 2009. He has since struggled to hold down a regular starting spot and has been loaned to a host of teams, including Sampdoria, QPR and Stuttgart. Wootton is another player that the club has loaned out but he has made two senior appearances, one of which was against Cluj in the Champions League.

The most intriguing of the players involved in the squad, coached by Warren Joyce and Nicky Butt, is Bébé. The Portugal U21 international was signed for €9m from Vitória de Guimaraes by United. Over a third of that fee went to the player’s agency and Alex Ferguson, who was managing United, admitted he had not seen Bébé playing in person before approving on the deal.

The 23-year-old’s first two seasons at United garnered him seven first team appearances and two goals. Loan spells followed in Turkey, at Besiktas, and with Rio Ave in Portugal, where he scored twice in 18 games. This is the last goal Bébé scored for the Premier League Champions:

YouTube credit: Romario Faria

In an interview with Portuguese newspaper Correio de Manha, last season, Bébé expressed an interest in joining Sport Lisbon. He said, “They put faith in young players, appreciate them, and play an attractive game that suits my style. It is a club that can grow. I haven’t found that in England.”

The United XI will contain many of the players that beat Club Brugge, and former Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen, 1-0. The squad to play Airtricity First Division Waterford includes Sam Johnstone, Tom Thorpe and Larnell Cole, who played in the Under-20 World Cup with England last month.

- Manchester United XI take on Waterford United from 7:45pm at the Regional Sports Centre on Thursday.

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Patrick McCarry

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