Who is Facundo Pellistri? Manchester United winger who could make debut vs Omonia

Man United manager Erik ten Hag could give a long-awaited debut to Facundo Pellistri in Thursday’s Europa League clash against Omonia Nicosia at Old Trafford.

Manchester United’s Thursday night fixture against Omonia may give Erik ten Hag a chance to rotate his squad and also give some of the fringe players a chance to impress. One of those players who could feature and in some ways salvage his career at Old Trafford is Facundo Pellistri.

Pellistri, 20, signed for United in a £9million deal from Uruguayan side Penarol in 2020 having also played youth team football for La Picada and River Plate Montevideo.

Pellistri returned to United this summer after back-to-back loan spells with Deportivo Alaves where he received limited minutes. The Spanish side were in a relegation battle for much of last season before eventually dropping into the Segunda Division, and therefore their manager preferred the experienced Edgar Mendez over the Uruguayan winger.

Many United fans believed that Pellistri would go back on loan or be sold this summer, but when the transfer window closed the Uruguayan still remained. And though he played some minutes in pre-season, he is yet to appear for the senior side so far this campaign.

Although he hasn’t featured for United this season, he was still picked for Uruguay’s national team squad over the international break, showing that national team manager Diego Alonso has some faith in his ability even if he isn’t receiving regular minutes. During the appearances, he has shown flashes that have left many United fans wondering whether he should get some game time.

However, he does have a lot of competition in front of him. Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Antony have all regularly appeared ahead of him on the wing and seem like the club’s main options there.

But then there is also Anthony Elanga to consider. He has played less than 300 minutes in total this season, including 80 minutes in the Europa League and many fans expect him to get some more game-time against Omonia on Thursday night.

The upside is that Elanga is more effective on the left and Pellistri is naturally right-sided, meaning that both could play in the same team and share the pitch. Pellistri would also offer a different option to Antony.

Antony tendency is to cut inside and shoot with his left foot and that is how he has scored all three of his goals so far this season. Pellistri on the other hand prefers to drive to the by-line and past his defender before cutting it back into the box to create a chance.

Pellistri is a talented player who is coming to the point in his career where he needs to make a choice about his future. If he doesn’t get game-time at United, he could move on but ten Hag could be about to set him on the path to realise his potential at United.

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