Facundo Pellistri.

Why Pellistri move was best of both worlds

Thursday 24 June 2021 13:00

Facundo Pellistri’s spell at Alaves in Spain has only enhanced the feeling that the winger will prove to be a shrewd signing, as his loan was an outstanding success.

The Uruguayan youngster arrived from Penarol last year and had to adapt to life outside of South America for the first time, during a lockdown, as he made his mark in Manchester United’s Under-23s.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided the best plan in January was to send him out on loan to gain more senior experience and he flourished in La Liga, helping Alaves retain their top-flight status and showing the skills that alerted United to his undoubted ability.

In total, he made 12 appearances for his loan club and made a very favourable impression.
“He did well and they loved him,” said Academy player performance manager Les Parry. “He’d have played more but picked up an injury three-quarters of the way through. He got back for the final two or three games and was Man of the Match against Atletico Madrid, who ended up winning the league.

“At the time, he was still 19, may have just touched 19, so he’s done tremendously well. At 19 [his birthday was on 20 December], to play in La Liga, hold his own and excel is amazing.
“He is fearless. He’s brave and doesn’t duck out of tackles. He goes for headers meaning to go for headers – he doesn’t just jump. And, when he runs at defenders, one thing you can’t let Facundo do is get into the box. When he gets into the box, he has fantastic feet and leaves people standing. As you say, the fans really liked him there.

“The chap there, our link, used to send me all the press cuttings and bits and bobs about him. He did really, really well.

Many pundits felt moving directly from Uruguayan football was going to be a challenge for Pellistri, but he has embraced that challenge and thrived in the environment in Spain, with La Liga closer to the nature of the Premier League.

“I think that was the thinking of the manager,” explained Parry. “We were sort of considering the language a bit as well, as he was still learning to speak English but, while he was out there, he was speaking Spanish and also learning English as well. So we’re getting the best of both worlds – a player playing at the highest level at an early age, who is learning our language as well for when he comes over here.”

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