Uruguay manager explains why he called United loanee Facundo Pellistri into international squad

The South American World Cup qualifying section is entering a crucial phase and Uruguay face arguably their biggest matches in four years.

It came with a little surprise that Facundo Pellistri was called into the Uruguay squad for these games, given the combination of their magnitude, and his underwhelming form.

The Manchester United loanee is at risk of becoming a forgotten figure, barely used by loan side Alaves, and United have not yet chosen to exercise a recall clause.

With no goals and no assists this season, Pellistri’s one highlight has been his pre-season goal for United against Derby.

Photo by Ion Alcoba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images


Why Pellistri has been called up

Pellistri’s call-up required an explanation for Uruguay supporters and new manager Diego Alonso provided one.

The United youngster was one of six players handed their first international call-ups, with Alonso looking to put his own stamp on the squad after taking over from long-serving boss Oscar Tabarez.

Alonso told El Observador: “I’m looking for the characteristics of players we need to be able to have in the squad. Regarding continuity, perhaps in the last few games he did not have the participation that he usually had, but in the last semester in almost all of the games he played, as a starter or substitute, at his young age.

“The call has to do with what I saw before and the characteristic that he has of playing on the wing with speed and imbalance one on one.”

Pellistri has played 19 games in total this season, but only started six. Alaves are struggling at the bottom end of La Liga.

The international call comes at a great time, to give the 20-year-old a much needed confidence boost where he can train alongside the top players from his country, including Manchester United teammate Edinson Cavani.

Pellistri excited for chance

Pellistri was quizzed by newspaper El Pais after touching down at Montevideo Airport. He expressed thankfulness at the opportunity and promised to do everything he can to help, if called upon.

The winger said: “Very happy for this opportunity and for being back in the country.”I try to do things well in my position. I try to give speed and face as much as I can.

“It comes to me at a time when I am adapting to Europe and I try to receive it with confidence because the year in Europe helped me improve and I come with a lot of desire.”

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Uruguay’s battle

Uruguay are seventh in the Conmebol qualifiers, yet they are just one point behind Colombia who sit in the fourth qualification spot.

They face Paraguay on Thursday night, who are below them in the table, and then bottom ranked Venezuela, before two final qualification matches in March against Peru and Chile.

More backing for Pellistri

United cult hero and Pellistri’s former Penarol boss Diego Forlan told United’s club website he believes the winger will go on to feature for the first team.

Forlan said: “He has great potential as a player, good skills, is quick but still young.You know it’s not easy to arrive at a great club like Manchester United.

“I think being on loan at Alaves was good and now he had an opportunity to go back again. It’s a good opportunity for him, he’s still growing a little bit. In the future, he can have the opportunity to play for the first team at Manchester United.”

Thoughts? Comment Below
LOGIN to Comment
LOGIN to Comment
Dan is still wondering what would have happened if United had kept Juan Veron...