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Diego Forlan tips young star to break into Man United first team

Former Manchester United striker and cult favourite Diego Forlan expects young winger Facundo Pellistri to become a first-team player in the near future.

Pellistri, 20, joined the Red Devils 18-months ago following a £7.7m move from Uruguayan side CA Penarol.

After joining up with the club, Pellistri was introduced to life in Manchester by way of the club’s under-23s side where he directly contributed to four goals in just his first eight appearances.

Read more: Former Premier League goalkeeper says Man United star is undroppable

Following what was clearly an impressive start, United agreed to loan the 20-year-old out to Spanish side Alaves in order to continue his development.

Facundo Pellistri in action for Alaves.

Currently enjoying his second stint in as many seasons with Alaves, Pellistri is not set to return to Old Trafford until the summer but the future certainly seems bright for the young wide-attacker.

One person who feels it is only a matter of time until the South American becomes a first-team regular is ex-striker Forlan.

Speaking to the club’s official website about his young compatriot’s potential, the retired attacker said: “I think he’s adapting really well.

“When they [United] talked to me about him, I told them everything – 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.”

When it comes to having patience, there are few former United players who understand this as well as Forlan does.

After being signed to the club almost exactly 20-years-ago to the day by legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson, it took Forlan 27 appearances to open his United account.

However, despite taking a while to get off the mark, Forlan became one of the club’s most iconic forwards and is still highly revered today.

Forlan went on to feature in 97 matches, in all competitions for United and directly contributed to 25 goals lifting four major trophies, including the 2002-03 Premier League title, along the way.

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