Manchester United’s squad has an abundance of players who prefer playing down the left flank. While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had brought in Jadon Sancho to fix the right flank problem, the England international has shone more while playing on the left side. That has left new manager Erik ten Hag with only two genuine right-wing options — Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellistri, both of whom did not enjoy the best of loan stints last season.
The young Uruguayan was sent out on loan to Alaves where he had spent six months the previous season. It seemed like a good deal at the time with the player returning to a club where he was comfortable and there was a high chance of earning regular minutes in the competitive La Liga.
But the season turned out to be a nightmare with the 20-year-old playing 22 games in total, mainly as a substitute. He started only six times and was hooked quite early in those games. To put this into perspective, he was used for only 673 minutes in the entire season, which equates to around seven-and-a-half games.
🗣️ Facundo Pellistri on not playing much at Alavés: “They never gave me a reason, but well. Every manager is different. Over there they liked things other than what I could give them and it is totally respectable. It is the coach who decides .” [@Ovaciondigital]
— Utd District (@UtdDistrict) July 8, 2022
He returned to his parent club without notching a single goal or assist and is definitely not happy with how things unfolded at Vitoria-Gasteiz.
“I didn’t leave Alavés very happy, because I hardly played in any games,” the youngster told Ovacion. “They never gave me a reason, but well? Every manager is different. Maybe they liked different things to what I could give them, and that’s totally respectable.
“It’s up to the coach to decide. I always gave my best, I trained 100%, and I was ready to play. The balance is negative. I would have liked to play more,” Pellistri added.
Message to Ten Hag
The Uruguay international is part of the 31-man pre-season tour squad and he has already spoken to his new manager. The Dutchman knows his squad bears a lopsided look and will assess the right-winger during the tour matches and will take a call whether to keep him as a member of the first-team squad or send him out on loan.
And the former Penarol youngster has a clear message for his parent club with regards to his next career move. The pacy wide-man has already become a national team player and with the World Cup just round the corner, he wants to make sure he boards the plane for Qatar.
🚨 EXC: Sources close to young Manchester United winger Facundo Pellistri confirm that the player wants to stay at Manchester United this season. Facundo wants the opportunity to impress Ten Hag and his camp hopes that he will. pic.twitter.com/lGvsJlW5Oo
— sam_c345 (@C345Sam) July 9, 2022
“Right now, I want to feel good again after the holidays, well-trained, more than anything because this year is very important both at club and national team level. You have to be ready for everything and prepare well.
“I want to have the maximum continuity of minutes to try to arrive well. I’m not looking for a particular league. It’s easy to say ‘earn minutes’ because nobody promises them to you, and you have to earn them. It’s a complicated search, but I’m going to try to find the best option to play, show myself and feel good.”
And Pellistri is not short of options if his agent Agustin Alvarez is to be believed. Alvarez spoke to Grand Hotel Calciomercato and revealed that his client has offers from all around Europe and that United would take a call after pre-season.
“Ten Hag will decide, if he will stay or if he will be loaned out. In the latter case we have several possibilities between England, Italy and Portugal thanks also to the performance we had with the Uruguayan national team, where coach Diego Alonso gave him the confidence that Alaves lacked.”
And the youngster will be chatting with his national team manager before agreeing to any loan. This will be his second pre-season with United. Last season, he scored his first goal for the club in a friendly against Derby County.
Despite not making his debut for the Reds, the team management have been impressed with the kind of physical training the winger has put in. He has gained seven kilos of muscle, something he understands will hold him in good stead while playing in Europe.
Without Cristiano Ronaldo, who Pellistri would like to meet and learn from, the winger will get his chance to play as an attacker. He would ideally like to impress the new boss in order to remain a part of the club with the Europa League a great place to earn minutes as he shows supporters why the club forked out £8 million for his services.
United Matchday Magazine – The Online Football Programme
United vs. Liverpool. There’s no such thing as a friendly. Ten Hag’s first match. Players desperate to impress. Revenge needed, pride must be restored. Part programme, part fanzine, United Matchday Magazine brings you the build up to the game. It is online football content like you’ve never seen before. Original features written by top writers, Intelligent reporting of the latest transfer stories and hand-picked news, videos and social media along with opinion, quizzes and humor. Click for a sneak peek or to get yours for just £1.25/$1.50.