Diego Forlan refuses to rule out switch to England

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The Independent Online

Uruguay striker Diego Forlan is refusing to rule anything out as speculation over his future continues unabated.

The 31-year-old Atletico Madrid star was once again asked about repeated rumours linking him with a return to England following last night's 3-2 friendly victory over the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.

However, the former Manchester United frontman was consistent in his response.

Speaking at the Aviva Stadium, he said: "At the moment, I have two years' more contract at Madrid and I am really happy.

"I always say if there is a good offer, we will see what is going to happen."

Forlan spent two and a half years at Old Trafford after making a £7.5million move from Independiente in January 2002, but has blossomed since leaving England for Spain, firstly with Villarreal and now at Atletico.

He was one of the stars of last summer's World Cup finals in South Africa as he helped his country reach the last four, and he admits the secret to his recent success is simple.

Forlan said: "I have had the chance to play all the games. Your confidence when you have the chance to play every game is different.

"You get more confident and of course more experience, and you are learning different things. It's because of that."

Experience was something Uruguay had plenty of and Ireland little last night with the likes of Shay Given, John O'Shea, Sean St Ledger, Kevin Kilbane, Damien Duff, Aiden McGeady, Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle all missing.

The South Americans responded to successive defeats by Chile and Estonia by racing into a 3-1 first-half lead, courtesy of some sublime finishing.

There was an element of good fortune about skipper Diego Lugano's 12th-minute opener, but after Shane Long had levelled three minutes later, Forlan's strike partners took over.

Edinson Cavani and Abel Hernandez gave keeper Keiren Westwood no chance, putting Uruguay in complete control - or so it seemed.

The Republic were back in it three minutes after the restart when, after Martin Caceres had felled both James McCarthy and Andy Keogh, Keith Fahey made it 3-2 from the penalty spot.

Giovanni Trapattoni's side battled all the way to the whistle for a share of the spoils, but the visitors held out despite the absence of most of their big names.

Forlan said: "You have to play against the team on the day and it was a difficult game - maybe if we had been playing against more experienced players, we might have got more chances.

"You never know in football. With the experienced players who were missing, the team should be better - that's logical - but you never know."

Asked if he knew any of Trapattoni's under-studies, Forlan said: "I am always watching and I knew quite a few of them. I know it was going to be a really tough game."

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