Facundo Pellistri was selected to make his first start for Manchester United against Real Betis after a long wait for his opportunity.
Erik ten Hag has always maintained that opportunities must be earned and not just given.
Pellistri has battled his way into the side after a series of lively cameo performances in 2023, having not even made his debut coming into this calendar year.
The Uruguayan played all 90 minutes as United won the game 1-0, thanks to a superb Marcus Rashford strike.
Pellistri performance rated
Facundo Pellistri’s performance was a talking point with the Uruguayan looking very lively.
BT Sport pundit Robbie Savage told commentary he was impressed with how the 21-year-old fared.
Savage said: “Pellistri can be happy with his first start. A good performance, looked lively, been a threat, he’s done very well.”
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Studio pundits Paul Scholes and Owen Hargreaves backed this up, commenting that the youngster had stepped up well.
Scholes said: “I thought he was a real threat. He could be a real asset. Not just from the bench. For his first full start he did very well.”
Hargreaves added: “He’s got something he’s direct and positive, no real frills. He can be proud, first start, team wins, and he played well.”
BBC pundit Rob Green told 5 Live he also felt Pellistri coped well with the adjustment to making his first start.
He said: “Facundo Pellistri has done well as a young player coming in. He had opportunities early in the game to make his mark – his name really – and get on the scoresheet but it’s just that decision-making.
“He will realise how quick the first team is compared to academy football.”
Pellistri made 53 touches in total, completing 83 per cent of his passes, with his first half effort turned onto the post by Wout Weghorst.
He worked hard to win six duels, making five ball recoveries, working hard on the defensive side on the ball, ensuring Erik ten Hag kept him on the pitch for the whole 90.
He will soon see if he did enough to earn a start in the FA Cup quarter-final against Fulham. Certainly he did his case no harm.