Facundo Pellistri is one of several youngsters looking to follow in Alejandro Garnacho’s footsteps and be nurtured under Erik ten Hag at Manchester United.
Garnacho is the clearest example yet that Ten Hag is willing to use his younger core in vital moments, as his track record at Ajax showed.
Pellistri was part of Ten Hag’s pre-season squad over the summer but an injury in the first game meant that his first chance to impress the manager was disrupted.
After two consecutive loan spells at La Liga side Alaves, another loan arrangement was discussed but the Uruguay international ended up staying at the club, eventually making his debut in the 3-0 win over Charlton last month.
Pellistri impressed in his brief second-half cameo and even assisted one of Marcus Rashford’s goals that night. He has now opened up on his debut, admitting it was ‘incredible’ to make his first appearance after waiting over two years.
“It was incredible, because I had been looking forward to that moment for a long time,” Pellistri is quoted as saying by the official Manchester United website.
“I was the one who enjoyed being on the pitch and wearing the Manchester United shirt and luckily there were 10 minutes more or less and I could touch the ball a lot and make that assist for Rashford.
“So it was a very good moment, perfect, and it is a night I’m going to remember. Every time I train, every time I play a game I will remember that night because it was incredible.”
Since that game, Pellistri has featured in an additional three matches, including over 30 minutes in the 2-2 draw with Leeds at Old Trafford.
The 21-year-old will be hoping for more opportunities to impress between now and the end of the season and as that 30-minute appearance against Leeds showed, Ten Hag is not afraid to use him when it matters.
The precarious injury situation in United’s attacking department could also help Pellistri, with Anthony Martial and Antony currently unavailable.