It has been two years since Facundo Pellistri signed for Manchester United from Penarol. It hasn’t been the smooth sailing experience I was hoping for.
Pellistri made a handful of appearances for the Under-23s, before coming down with Covid, which cost him a place in the FA Cup third-round tie in 2021.
Soon after he was sent out on loan to Alavés, for the first of two rather disappointing loan spells. This season he started with an injury, which prevented another loan move.
But it hasn’t all been bad news. Pellistri has flashed quality with goals in successive pre-season games, and has earned a call-up to the Uruguay national team, where he looks set for a place at the World Cup.
This week, his agent hinted that he could leave the club in January, but wait, the chance to make his debut in a big game could come.
Here’s a look at three reasons why Facundo Pellistri should make an impactful start to tonight’s crucial Europa League tie with Real Sociedad…
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It is best for the right side
Antony missed the weekend game and did not train on Wednesday morning. He has only missed one game since joining the club, so United haven’t had to explore alternatives too often.
At the weekend, United picked Anthony Elanga and moved Marcus Rashford down the right, but tactically it didn’t really work, with the number 10 scoring his goal from the left side of the penalty area.
All of United’s alternative forwards prefer to play on the left, with Jadon Sancho also out. Facundo Pellistri is a right back.
If Erik ten Hag wants balance for the team, even if it’s just an hour before he throws in Elanga or Garnacho, then Pellistri is the player to provide it.
Pellistri will deliver a disciplined performance down the right, sticking to his position and doing the defensive work, and ready to run at opponents when he receives the ball.
He could be the best fit United have for tonight’s game, although he hasn’t had the chance to prove it in a United shirt so far.
Pellistri can handle big games
Dropping Pellistri for this game would be a massive call, but the winger will not be intimidated. He has already proven that he can do it.
Pellistri made his debut for Uruguay earlier this year in a World Cup qualifier and made the most of his opportunity. He is now a regular in his country and will probably start in Qatar later this month.
While he will acknowledge the importance of starting with Manchester United in this big game, Pellistri will accept that.
He has also played against bigger and better Spanish teams, facing Barcelona and Real Madrid, even featuring in a La Liga win over Atlético Madrid last season, so Pellistri will be ready if the they ask
Know the opposition
Of course, Pellistri knows the opponent, Real Sociedad, having played against them before during his loan at Alavés.
He played 33 minutes as a substitute in a league defeat to Alavés, and was an unused substitute on another occasion.
He would join David de Gea, Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro among the players who could line up who have played at Reale Arena de la Sociedad before, and that will help him cope if he is released.
Even just being in Spain will provide a familiar environment for Pellistri, which will allow him to play well, if given a surprise opportunity.
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Source: 3 reasons Facundo Pellistri should make United debut v Real Sociedad