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Jesse Lingard: From fringe player to first team regular

Jesse Lingard now seems a regular in the Manchester United first team, taking up any role assigned to him by Jose Mourinho and excelling at it.  However, it was not long ago Lingard was a fringe player at Manchester United and experienced three loan moves to Championship clubs. Lingard’s big break came in the 2015/16 season where he finally made 25 appearances in the Premier League. Lingard was by no means a stand out player but he did manage to make a name for himself due to his blistering pace and how he always managed to try and take a shot at goal.

This led to him averaging 2.43 shots per game, in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, an impressive feat when you consider how defensive Louis van Gaal made this United team play. Lingard’s stand out moment came when in the FA Cup final that season when he scored the winning goal to see United win their first piece of major silverware in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era. Upon Jose Mourinho becoming Manchester United manager Lingard started to make an impact on the squad.

Lingard soon became an important squad player and although Lingard played fewer games for United, his overall game improved dramatically, averaging 1.5 shots in the Premier League and averaging 1.2 key passes per game. This saw Lingard be able to contribute more to Manchester United and saw him once again score the winning goal at Wembley in Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Southampton in the EFL Cup final the clubs second piece of major silverware since Ferguson retired and Mourinho’s first as United manager.

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These cup final feats are not just pure luck and have a lot to do with Lingard as a player and how he is deployed at Manchester United. Lingard is an extremely passionate player and a major success for United’s famed Academy, with the Englishman a red through and through and always willing to play out of his skin for the club. This has seen Lingard take up a variety of roles at United and such as playing on the right-wing, number ten and as a number eight in a three-man midfield.

Lingard is capable of this due to having excellent tactical discipline seeing him able to be given any role and use the skills he has to complete it to the best of his ability. Evidence of this can be seen in Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Arsenal this season, which saw Lingard play as a number ten where his role was to use his pace and attacking nature to put pressure on Arsenal midfielders and prevent them being able to defend effectively, Lingard ultimately succeeded in this role and score two goals.

Ultimately Lingard’s overall positive attitude that sees his teammates work well alongside him and tactical discipline makes has seen him grow into a key player at Manchester United who can fill in multiple roles, and be touted as one of the youth academy’s biggest successes due to his love for Manchester United and key role within the squad.

Written by Ben Bailey

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