Facundo Pellistri will remain at Manchester United this season, rather than being sent out on loan as had been anticipated.
Ten Hag held personal meetings with Pellistri to explain this decision and outline his plan for the young winger this season. The Dutchman is said to view Pellistri as a “useful player” given his attitude and technical abilities.
Pellistri has previously described training at Old Trafford as comparable to studying at Harvard such is the quality of the sessions.
The 20-year-old had attracted interest from more than a “dozen clubs” this summer, including Sheffield United and FC Twente, seeking to secure him on loan.
Earlier in the summer reports had suggested Ten Hag believed FC Twente the ideal destination for Pellistri to continue his development this season.
This move would be designed to lighten the burden of expectation on Rasmus Højlund.
United were interested in signing an additional forward this summer – a loan move being the preference – but a suitable option never presented itself. As such, Rashford may be used in rotation with Højlund.
This move would subsequently free up a spot in the match-day squad on the wing. With Rashford deployed through the middle, it would leave Jadon Sancho and Alejandro Garnacho competing on the left-wing, and only Antony on the right.
This relative scarcity will have heavily influenced Ten Hag’s decision on Pellistri’s future this season.
The Uruguayan also offers a different profile to Antony or Sancho on the right; a more direct winger who seeks to immediately engage the opposition fullback.
It constitutes a refreshing approach to the almost tentative styles of his two team-mates.
Pellistri is set to play a more important role at United this season than even he could probably have dreamt.