Manchester United’s Under 23’s coach Neil Wood has been explaining why new signing Facu Pellistri has not yet been seen in first team action.
The Red Devils signed the 18-year-old from Uruguayan side Penarol on deadline day and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he would immediately be included in the first team squad, giving him the number 28 shirt.
The winger was on the bench for the famous 2-1 victory against PSG on the 20th October but shortly after Solskjaer appeared to backtrack on his promise, saying ‘he’s a young boy coming over and it’s all new for him…he’ll need a few games in the Reserves, of course, to try to find his feet in a new country.’
Since then Pellistri has played just twice for academy sides, in the Under-23s 2-1 win over Everton last month and in yesterday’s Under-21’s 4-0 loss to League Two side Morecambe in the Papa John’s Trophy.
And in an interview with The MEN, Wood suggested that Pellistri is struggling to settle in his new environment.
‘It’s not easy to come to a different country and hit the ground running, you see that at the highest level,’ Wood said.
‘We’ve not had much access to him really, he’s been training with the first team a lot and training well with the first team, so it’s going to take time to adapt.
‘I know tonight [at Morecambe] is not the ideal situation for him, but it can only benefit him being out on the pitch.
‘It’s great for him to get on the pitch and get some minutes behind him and a bit of match sharpness. It will help him in the long run.
It is not the start that United or the player himself would have hoped for after his €8.5m transfer – a huge investment for an 18-year-old. Having lost out on both Jadon Sancho and Ousmane Dembele in the summer, it would not have been fair to expect Pellistri to hit the ground running but right now it seems that he is probably further away from first team action than longer-term academy stars such as Anthony Elanga.
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