Manchester United attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard has spoken about how he returned from his season on loan a better player. The England U21 international is currently enjoying being part of the first team squad whilst on tour in the United States of America under new United manager Louis van Gaal. Lingard spent the first part of last season on loan with Championship side Birmingham City, scoring four goals on his debut, and the second half of his season with Barclays Premier League promotion hopefuls Brighton & Hove Albion.
Last season Lingard was taken on the tour to Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Long by then manager David Moyes, where he was one of the stars of the tour, scoring the most goals. He is happy to be involved in the tour this summer, making his first appearance at the start of the second half against AS Roma on Saturday in Denver, with United winning 3-2 with goals by Wayne Rooney (2) and Juan Mata. Lingard hopes to catch the eye of the new manager with a view of gaining a first team place this coming season, which would be well deserved. Speaking to the official Manchester United website, Lingard said:
“We knew about the manager’s track record before he came to the club and how he promotes youth.
“You’ve got to wait for your chance but make sure you take it when you get it. All the youngsters have been doing well and most have had a run-out so we’re all looking to progress from there.
“Training has been hard work but everyone has enjoyed it. We’ve been working on some new things which is good for us. We’re still adapting to how the manager wants to us to play and his structure but that’s something we’re enjoying.
“I learnt so much from the loan spells last season. Playing in front of big crowds every week was great for my confidence and I was starting every game too against tough opposition. I think it’ll hopefully stand me in good stead for this season.
“My ambitions are just to do my best and break into the first team. I hope I can play some games in the cup competitions and in the league as well.
“There is a great spirit among everyone and we’re all working together. You want to be a part of a team like this.”
Last season it was a shame that his performances on tour were not backed by David Moyes. The Scottish manager just did not give the lad a chance in the first team, something which had shown him to be wrong, especially with him scoring four goals in his Birmingham City debut. United suffered with quality last season, especially in the wing positions, Lingard could have been the breath of fresh air needed. There is one thing that is certain, youth players are thankful for their chances in the first team and the majority will try and impress their manager and their team-mates, but these chances have to be granted by the manager.
Right now the Old Trafford club is going through another period of change. We have been promised incoming players, along with players leaving the club, which I think is something that is needed as the desired quality is not there across the whole squad. United currently have players who seem to have given up last season, which for me is unforgivable for whatever reasons. If the current crop of youth players, who are pushing for first team places are not given a chance, they will end up walking away from the club in view of chances elsewhere.
I know United need to bring in quality players this summer, but I would like to see youth players given a chance. That is what United is all about to me. I have seen youth given a chance over the years I have supported the Old Trafford club, something I wish to continue to see. I am not saying I do not want United to purchase quality players, as I too want that to happen, but the squad needs to have a good balance of quality players along with players that are given their chance and I am sure Louis van Gaal will be the man to bring that to the club this coming season.