Manchester United winger Facundo Pellistri has tested positive for Covid-19, ruling him out of making his senior debut against Watford on Saturday.
The 19-year-old, who signed in the summer transfer window, has not been displaying symptoms but returned a positive test, his agency confirmed. He must now follow the Government guidelines and isolate for 10 days.
“I think we’ve done well to follow the protocols as we have, we’ve had the odd case and Facundo Pellistri got a positive, so he reported that on his Twitter, we don’t normally comment on who they are but Facundo is well and hopefully he’ll be back with us soon,” manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said at his pre-match press conference.
“He’s been with the reserves and under-23s and he wasn’t really in our group over Christmas. Apart from that, we have a full and fit squad.”
A statement from Pellistri’s agency posted on social media also confirmed the news: “He is doing the corresponding quarantine at home, without symptoms and complying with the physical care indicated by his club. We appreciate the messages received in the last hours. Soon he will be training again with his teammates.”
The United whole squad and staff are being tested twice a week and the Premier League revealed their highest number of positive tests earlier this week.
Three fixtures have been postponed due to covid in the last few weeks, and Aston Villa are expected to field their U23s side against Liverpool in the FA Cup due to an increased number of positives in their squad.
United are confident Pellistri is the only player with the virus and the game against Watford is not in jeopardy despite his positive test.
Solskjaer hopes that football can continue during this current lockdown period, amid talk of a ‘circuit-breaker’ to try and reduce the number of positive cases.
He said: “First of all, you’re worried about what’s happening in society and the country, it’s a big thing.
“I personally feel safe within our bubble, I think we’ve taken all the steps we’ve had to following protocols and guidelines, the club have been good, the players have been following as well as we can, what’s happening outside at different clubs and in society is frightening and we have a responsibility and duty to steer clear and keep within the bubbles.
“I hope we can continue playing because it’s a positive impact for everyone. Even I feel it at home when you don’t have a game yourself you’re looking forward to watching a game on telly and the mental well-being of football has been a big positive, I think.”