Facundo Pellistri will have been sat on the bench at Old Trafford on Tuesday night wondering if his number was going to be called.
United were cruising against Istanbul Basaksehir, and with five substitutes available, there seemed a chance Pellistri could make his debut… in the Champions League.
That particular dream will have to wait. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gradually used up his allotment of substitutes and Pellistri was not among them.
Perhaps the plan was to send Pellistri on for the final minutes as the fifth, but Istanbul pulling a goal back and then hitting the bar prompted Solskjaer to bring on Nemanja Matic to steer United back on course. Suddenly it had not become a moment for experimentation.
While that was disappointing for fans hoping to get a glimpse of the new signing in action, it was the right call.
To give Pellistri his debut so quickly would have been a nice gesture, but he is not ready just yet.
And it would all come a little too easy, right after his first assist for the under-23s.
United need Pellistri to perform strongly for the under-23s on a consistent basis.
Pellistri needs to build up a catalog of form which demands he be given a first team opportunity, rather than just be handed one as a kind gesture.
The youngster certainly got close in midweek. He was so close he was within touching distance of making his debut.
Now he needs to go and use this as motivation to kick on and really step up his game and come back stronger.
If United do beat PSG in the next group game, the final match with Leipzig could see plenty of rotation. That may be a moment for Pellistri to come in, if the team has already qualified.
Pellistri’s first team debut will come. He was unlucky it wasn’t this week, but the club have laid down the gauntlet to him.
If he can build on his promising under-23 display at the weekend, he might soon be able to start showcasing his ability at Old Trafford.
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