Facundo Pellistri makes World Cup debut for Uruguay

Manchester United winger Facundo Pellistri made his World Cup debut in Uruguay’s 0-0 draw against South Korea.

Despite still not making his competitive debut for the Red Devils, following his arrival from Penarol two years ago, the 20-year-old was handed his World Cup bow from the start by international boss Diego Alonso.

Pellistri’s only competitive action this season at club level came via a solitary appearance in the EFL Trophy against Barrow for United’s Under-21s.

Although United’s number 28 hasn’t played too much football in the last year, following a difficult second loan spell with Spain side Alaves, Alonso sees him as a vital part of his Uruguay side.

Facundo Pellistri makes World Cup debut for Uruguay

Photo by Maddie Meyer – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Making just his eighth cap for La Celeste, Pellistri’s speed and dribbling qualities were never really showcased against the South Koreans.

He did create a great chance for Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez following his header into the penalty area, but the former Benfica marksman fluffed his lines.

Pellistri played 88 minutes before being replaced by former Manchester United right-back Guillermo Varela.

Pellistri, who scored against Liverpool in pre-season before suffering an ankle injury against Atletico Madrid, had 31 touches and completed 14 of his attempted 18 passes (78%).

He created two chances but failed to complete any of his attempted four dribbles, as per SofaScore.

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

In the build-up to the match, former Crystal Palace striker Clinton Morrison spoke about highly he rates Pellistri. The former Republic of Ireland striker said: “He is a star and he’s got great potential.”

However, speaking live on BBC One, commentating on the game, former England, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Danny Murphy said he was surprised that Alonso started Pellistri given the lack of game time the former Penarol has had this season.

Murphy said: “We’ve spoken about players coming into the tournament without much game time, and he [Pellistri] definitely falls in that bracket, but the manager has placed his trust in him.”

Prior to Pellistri being brought off late in the second half, Murphy felt the young South American had struggled to have an impact in the second 45 minutes.

Murphy said: “His crossing has not been great. He’s not had that much joy in the second half.”

Pellistri will be hoping to retain his place in Uruguay’s starting line-up against Portugal on Monday.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.