Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted that 18-year-old January signing Amad Diallo could be included in a matchday squad sooner rather than later, after impressing in his first few training sessions since arriving from Atalanta this month.
Diallo, who has been handed Marcus Rashford’s old number 19 shirt, arrives very highly rated but with precious little first-team experience because of his age and United planned to be patient to make sure he has time to settle into brand new surroundings.
Yet Diallo himself was always going to have the opportunity to force the manager’s hand to include him sooner if he hit the ground running in training…and that appears to be the case.
“He'd enjoyed training and can make a difference, which is remarkable at his age. I can't see it being too long until he is in the squad,” Solskjaer said of the Ivory Coast-born starlet as United prepare to face Fulham on Wednesday night.
“It might be quicker than [four to five weeks], he’s definitely settled down. Players have taken to him, he’s a good character, polite, smiley boy who works really hard.”
United have had a similar approach with fellow teenager Facundo Pellistri this season, having signed the 18-year-old from Uruguayan giants Penarol on the same day the Diallo deal was first announced back on deadline day in October.
Pellistri has trained with the firstteam and has been on the bench a handful of times for games in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir, but is still waiting for his first-team debut and has so far only played Under-23 games.
Pellistri has made an impact with the second string scoring in successive Premier League 2 games in December. But his chance for a first-team debut took a big hit when he tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before United played Championship side Watford in the FA Cup earlier this month.