Facundo Pellistri had to wait for Manchester United debut as Erik ten Hag wanted him to “deserve” opportunity
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has stated that Facundo Pellistri had to earn the opportunity for his first-team debut against Charlton Athletic.
The Uruguay international came on as a substitute in the 84th minute in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, replacing Anthony Elanga. He provided the assist for Marcus Rashford’s first goal of the game as the match ended 3-0.
Speaking during a Q&A with supporters via the club’s official website (h/t Manchester Evening News), Ten Hag was of the opinion that Pellitri had to “deserve” the chance to get onto the pitch for the Old Trafford side.
“It was just 10 minutes [he played], but he made a really good impression. He had to wait a long time for it because you have to deserve the game-time in our squad. There are others who also deserved it who didn’t even come on.”
The 20-year-old signed for the Red Devils in the summer of 2020 from Penarol. After spending a few months with our youth sides, the forward joined Deportivo Alaves on loan for the rest of the campaign.
In the 2021/22 season, the Uruguayan once again went to the La Liga outfit on a temporary move. In Spain, the forward was unable to cement his place in Los Blanquiazules’ starting lineup.
Pellistri returned to United in the summer of 2022 and played a part during the pre-season. However, the gaffer has been reluctant to hand him regular opportunities.
At the Old Trafford side, the Uruguayan has had to compete with established stars like Marcus Rashford, Antony, Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho up front.
The 20-year-old also has other youngsters ahead of him in the pecking order. Alejandro Garnacho has been a revelation in the current campaign for the Red Devils, while Elanga has also gotten a few chances in the team.
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As a result, Pellistri has been on the peripheries of the squad. However, the 20-year-old is highly rated, as was evident with Uruguay featuring him in every one of their group stage fixtures in the 2022 World Cup. It remains to be seen whether the youngster can live up to expectations in Manchester.