Erik ten Hag twice talked up a forgotten Man Utd star after his landmark moment on Tuesday night, and a report claims two offers to leave the club this month will now be rejected.
The biggest headline on Tuesday night was Manchester United booking their place in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup. However, from a personal level, it was also a momentous day for one Red Devil in particular.
21-year-old Facundo Pellistri made his long-awaited debut for the club two years and three months after joining from Penarol.
The Uruguayan had twice been loaned out to Spanish side Alaves in that time. Pellistri – a lively winger – was then given hope he might finally get a chance to prove his worth in England upon being retained in the first-team squad by Ten Hag.
However, the Dutch boss didn’t see fit to give Pellistri a single minute of action despite naming him on the bench in 13 different first-team matches this season. At the 14th time of asking, Pellistri got the nod on Tuesday night.
The Uruguayan impressed too, making a vital defensive contribution late on and providing the assist for Marcus Rashford’s first goal. The energy and endeavour he showed out of possession will also have his pleased his manager.
In lieu of his severely restricted game-time, Pellistri’s agent, Edgardo Lasalvia, previously claimed a January exit was on the cards.
He told ESPN Uruguay: “I think that with a good World Cup, as we think it will have, his departure is imminent.”
Fabrizio Romano later reported United could explore loan opportunities, and claimed Pellistri was on board with seeking a move away too.
The Daily Express report Pellistri is now the subject of two loan offers – from Brazilian side Flamengo and LaLiga outfit Valencia.
Pellistri given new lease on life at Man Utd
However, they state both bids are due to be knocked back, with Ten Hag’s comments following the 3-0 victory over Charlton Athletic hinting Pellistri has a future at Old Trafford.
“I see a future in him,” said Ten Hag after the game (via Man Utd’s official website). “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], I was really happy with his performance.
“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 doubled down on his backing of Pellistri.
“I mentioned already Pellistri came on and it was a debut,” said Ten Hag. “It was not long but he was really lively, some good actions and also the assist on the second goal.”