Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag says he sees a future for Facundo Pellistri at the club after he impressed on debut against Charlton Athletic.
Pellistri’s long-term future has been the subject of speculation, with the Uruguay international reportedly unhappy with his lack of game time at Old Trafford.
However, Ten Hag has signalled that the winger remains part of his plans moving forward after handing the 21-year-old his senior United debut in Tuesday night’s 3-0 victory over Charlton in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Despite only being introduced in the 85th minute, Pellistri was straight into the action – setting up Marcus Rashford for the Red Devils’ second goal of the evening, shortly before Rashford wrapped up the victory in stoppage time.
The Uruguayan also made one vital intervention at the back, showing a glimpse of his exceptional work rate, a quality that’s been questioned of many Manchester United players down the years, including Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ten Hag’s message to Pellistri
Following the final whistle, Ten Hag was quick to praise Pellistri.
“I see a future in him. He is doing really well and we have to see what is the best [for him]. He is progressing. Against Everton [in a behind-closed doors friendly],” said Ten Hag.
“I was happy with his performance at the World Cup so his progress is really good and now he is coming on and has an effect. So that’s the next step that I say: ‘well done Pelli, keep going’.”
In a separate interview, Ten Hag praised the winger’s energy, adding: “I mentioned already Pellistri came on and it was a debut. It was not long but he was really lively, some good actions and also the assist on the second goal.”
Back in November, Pellistri’s agent Edgardo Lasalvia claimed that his player was likely to leave United at the next available opportunity.
Lasalvia told ESPN: “I think with a good World Cup, as we think he is going to have, his departure [from United] is imminent.”
However, in a fascinating turn of events, Pellistri looks as though he may still get his chance at Old Trafford.
The winger’s inclusion in Uruguay’s World Cup squad speaks for itself, with the national coach Diego Alonso clearly a huge admirer of the youngster. So much so, that Pellistri started two out of Uruguay’s three games at the tournament, amassing more game time than in his entire career at Manchester United.