Once considered one of Manchester United’s brighest talents, highly-rated for his intelligent movement and eye for goal, Jesse Lingard was tipped to be one of the stars of the Old Trafford club’s post – Ferguson era.
Now approaching his 25th birthday, Lingard seems to have been simmering away on United’s bench for the past few seasons. He has made very few really convincing performances and has had little game time, it seems as if the young Englishman is happy to play second fiddle to many up and coming stars at United, Marcus Rashford to mention but one.
With an annual pay-packet surpassing £5 million, the stats leave many fans questioning the role of Lingard at United and whether he will ever be considered as anything more than an impact player from the bench.
Lingard seems to retain his schoolboy attitude and is best pals with the club’s record signing Paul Pogba. In fact, at times the young play-maker looks to be more interested in creating goal celebrations and fancy handshakes, rather than working on his less than impressive goal tally from his predominantly wide position.
Now approaching what would be considered his peak, Lingard must decide what direction his remaining career should take. Past seasons have proved that he will be left to rot on the United side-line if he chooses not to push for a regular first-team spot.
He has 2 options; move to another club which may see him play on a more regular basis or maintain his £100k a week status at United and be surpassed by his more talented team-mates.
At times, we have seen the capability of the 24-year-old winger, Lingard clinched victory for United in their 2016 FA Cup final against Crystal Palace at Wembley, which was perhaps his finest hour in a United shirt to date. However, his ability to make an impact for The Reds on a consistent basis remains in doubt.
The overriding feeling is that the Warrington born forward lacks the overall quality to ever truly warrant a starting place for a club of United’s ambition and stature.
Lingard needs to take a step back and decide what he wants to make of himself now, sit in the shadows at Old Trafford or make something of himself elsewhere. Biding his time at United is only confirming his doubter’s judgement.
Written by Matthew Maltby.
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