Manchester United youngster Facundo Pellistri was urged to quit the club earlier this year, but the winger was handed a surprise starter in Uruguay's World Cup opener against South Korea
Manchester United outcast Facundo Pellistri was given the nod to start in Uruguay's World Cup opener against South Korea - just months after he was urged to quit the club for the good of his international career.
Pellistri was snapped up by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before United dispensed with the Norwegian's services. Solskjaer moved for Pellistri, 20, following a recommendation from his former Old Trafford strike partner, Diego Forlan.
Although he arrived for a sum of around £10million from Penarol, Pellistri has been a peripheral figure since making the switch to Manchester. He caught the eye after scoring in a pre-season friendly against Liverpool under Erik ten Hag but has failed to feature in the Premier League under the Dutchman.
Former Uruguay international Gus Poyet, who is currently managing the Greece national team, believed that Pellistri would be ostracised under Ten Hag as he was a Solskjaer signing.
"Pellistri will struggle to get game time," the former Chelsea and Tottenham ace told Midnite back in September. "It would be good for him to go somewhere and play, because the World Cup is around the corner and he is very important for the Uruguay team because the coach has lots of faith in his ability, he’s a proper winger."
Despite Poyet's concerns, Pellistri was given the chance to impress by Uruguay boss Diego Alonso, who started the wide-man in Thursday's match 0-0 draw against South Korea. But Pellistri failed to make the most of his opportunity to make a statement on the global stage.
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Pellistri was the odd man out in a star-studded attacking three that included Luis Suarez and Darwin Nunez, but he made a bright start when he burst clear down the flank in the opening stages of the match. However, Nunez was unable to convert after being teed up by the United youngster.
Like his big-name counterparts, Pellistri struggled to influence the match. The youngster did get back diligently and worked hard, but failed to produce any real standout moments. His timid display is likely to have done little to persuade Ten Hag that he is worthy of more first-team minutes.
Pellistri's cause has not been helped by the emergence of Alejandro Garnacho in recent weeks. The Argentina starlet has muscled his way ahead of Pellistri in the pecking order and netted a last-gasp winner in the 2-1 win over Fulham just before the World Cup.
The 18-year-old also made an impact in the Europa League against Real Sociedad and the Carabao Cup against Aston Villa - meaning Pellistri could be left out in the cold for good unless he can show why he is held in such high esteem by Alonso in Qatar over the coming weeks.
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