Facundo Pellistri realistic he might not be in Erik ten Hag's plans for Manchester United in 2022/23
Manchester United’s large squad will be supplemented by the return of 17 players from loan spells at the end of the season.
Everybody at the club faces an uncertain future, with new manager Erik ten Hag set to come in and start from scratch, with his own plans and ideas.
Not everybody will be part of Ten Hag’s United in 2022/23, and current loanee Facundo Pellistri admits he may not be.
Pellistri spoke to ESPN South America and said that while playing for Manchester United remains his ‘dream’, he half expects to be sent out on loan again.
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Priority is game time
Having barely played on loan at Alaves this season, Pellistri is mindful he can’t spend next season sitting on the bench, even if it is at Old Trafford.
He has a World Cup to prepare for with Uruguay, and risks missing out if he is not playing regular club football.
Pellistri explained: “Always the best thing and the dream is to play for Manchester United, but today the priority is to have minutes and if it’s not at Manchester, we have to find another team.
“I saw that Erik ten Hag will be the new coach, when I have to go to Manchester for the preseason I will try to do my best
“They watch my games. Once my loan ends, I will talk to them right away to see what they think of me for next season, what plans they have for me, what teams they recommend for the future.”
Pellistri learned last season that his pre-season performances will only count for so much. He scored against Derby in his first friendly game and earned the praises of supporters.
United decided a loan was in his best interests, although with hindsight, Alaves was a poor choice, and he arguably should have been recalled in January amid a lack of game time.
He knows that when he returns to United this summer, only so much is in his control. He is under contract at the club until 2026, and his career is going to be a slow-burn towards the point where United finally deem him ready to contribute.
A mixed season
Alaves have just changed managers and Pellistri got 30 minutes off the bench in his last game, more than in recent weeks.
This season Pellistri only has six starts for Alaves, the last of which came back in early December.
The highlight of his season was his international call-up with Uruguay in January, who he helped clinch a place at the 2022 World Cup, providing an assist in his first home game.
He said: “I have always trained full, also working on my own to be good for anything I touch. This year I had to play two games in a week with Uruguay and I hadn’t even played for Alavés for a month and a half, that’s why you always have to be ready.”
Even though his time in Spain has been a disappointment, Pellistri believes he has improved by being at Alaves.
He commented: “Over time you realize the improvements, you feel those changes and you start feeling stronger, more powerful, that you mark better or that you attack spaces better.”
“La Liga forces you to learn all that because if you don’t learn that you won’t be able to survive.”