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Manchester United could have some players back from injury against Liverpool but will it make a difference?

Manchester United will be back in action in the Premier League on Sunday as they welcome league leaders Liverpool to the Theatre of Dreams in the clubs first local derby of the season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team owe the supporters a performance worthy of the support they have been given but that could be problematic with injuries.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood have all suffered injuries with some expected to be back soon. Diogo Dalot was injured in his last match, whilst both Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah remain on the sidelines recovering from knee surgery before the end of the year.

It has been suggested in the media that Paul Pogba could be back for the Liverpool match, however, reports have also suggested that he will miss the clash. I guess if you cover both bases, you have a good chance at being right, which is something the media do at times, all in plain sight so many don’t question it, instead use it as propaganda against the manager.

Victor Lindelof is reportedly getting ready to play for Sweden against Spain on Tuesday, which could suggest he will be back in the squad to face Liverpool. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been absent for the last three matches suffering from tonsillitis, with hope that he will be able to play after sitting out for the international break also.

Luke Shaw has missed eight matches along with Anthony Martial, both of whom suffered thigh injuries in the 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace back in August. Shaw has been training since before the 0-0 draw against AZ Alkmaar, so could be ready to fortify the left-back position but Martial could still be a doubt as he might not have trained yet.

Phil Jones could also be back, although he has played just 135 minutes of football this season, is unlikely to start many big matches. Axel Tuanzebe has risen well ahead of him in the defensive ranks this season, which is a good thing, in my opinion. Solskjaer also suggested that Jesse Lingard, who missed Newcastle United defeat, may be back for this match.

Mason Greenwood, who has played a lot of football with both Martial and Marcus Rashford having time on the sidelines so far this season, suffered a lower back injury against Newcastle, which stopped him from playing for England U21s during the international break. He will be assessed ahead of the Liverpool match, which is not great news.

Diogo Dalot is also back on the sidelines through injury, suffering more of the same, to do with his hip, which kept him out earlier this season, which also suggests the problem was not solved and may have been prolonged. Not that he’s a big miss, as he is unlikely to start at right-back much this season based on his lack of experience.

Both Bailly and Fosu-Mensah are expected to be out until at least late December, in Bailly’s case, not return date for the Dutch defender, which might mean he will be out until 2020. United, however, are not crying out for defensive reinforcement yet, which is a positive at this time, not that many will see it that way. Some players seem to be made of glass now.

Hypothetically, if it were expected that Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Shaw and Pogba, Lingard and Martial were all back in the team against Liverpool, would it make much of a difference? That is a question that many will answer right away negatively, as the fan base, at least on social media is toxic and heading much deeper than that.

Some will wonder if these ‘people’ are actually supporters of the club or whether they are supporters of the decline, moaning about anything and everything. United have not had much luck this season. Injuries have been costly to this already threadbare squad and talent, determination and desire were already scarce before injury took its toll.

United should be fired up for matches such as this one against Liverpool. They were up for the clash against Chelsea at the start of the season, the best performance of the season incidentally. United has a history of playing in these big matches and all of the players who are fit to play should have the desire, determination, and hunger to achieve.

Manchester United trio ruled out of Leicester clash. Youth need to be given a chance but will they?

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, and Anthony Martial will miss the Premier League match against Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday. It was also confirmed that Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard have a chance to feature for United this weekend.

Solskjaer has eight players on the sidelines currently with Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah, who are both recovering from knee injuries and Diogo Dalot, who has a hip injury. In order to find a squad capable of beating Leicester this weekend, the manager will need to draft in some of the fringe players in order to aim to get a result.

However, with the liked of Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young, Nemanja Matic, and Juan Mata, despite the fact they have the experience, it hardly suggests that they are going to bring in the ‘must win at all costs’ mentality. However, if talented youth players were given a chance, they will give their all in a bid to show that they are ready for the first-team.

United will no doubt miss Martial but whether they miss Pogba is another story as he has not really pulled it out of the bag this season so there is really nothing to miss. Perhaps sitting out of matches is necessary for him to find his love of the club and the game, wanting to give his all for this club, if not, is he really going to be a suitable player on the pitch?

In order for Solskjaer to continue his rebuilding of the club, he needs to look at other options at his disposal, rather than relying on players that have failed to ‘inspire and achieve’ for much of the last six years. We already know that the usual suspects will let the side down, which is not rebuilding, it is trying the same thing over and over again.

I would like to see Ethan Laird, if fit, Brandon Williams, Angel Gomes, James Garner, Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong, and maybe even Largie Ramazani given a chance this season. Some of them would be ideal at this moment in time considering the injuries in the squad. All seven of these players will fit into the areas weakened by injury.

Laird could play at right-back, Williams at left-back, Garner could fill in for Pogba, Gomes for Lingard, Greenwood for Martial with the others on the bench ready for an opportunity should they be needed. This would be a more positive approach than utilising Rojo, who wants to leave the club and Matic, who is too slow to play in this squad.

With the injury news, it is clear that Marcus Rashford will lead the line again, with Daniel James playing on the left. Greenwood could play on the right. If Solskjaer utilises the 4-3-3 formation, Gomes could be playing as the more advanced midfielder with Garner and Scott McTominay dealing with distribution and defensive midfield aspects of the game.

Not only would this send a message to those who have continued to allow the decline of this club, it would give the supporters hope that Solskjaer is the manager that will inspire youth as United really do have some great players coming through the ranks. Risks need to be taken in order to see if it could work. At least something was tested for the future.

Looking at Manchester United’s attacking depth for the 2019/20 season

Manchester United has some of the fastest attacking players in the Premier League this season. The departure of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan and the rumoured departure of Alexis Sanchez is going to create more chances for youth to shine at the club, which is something that is clear Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is about.

Anthony Martial has been given his old number nine shirt back, a number he wore when he had his best season at the club to date. Perhaps he can now kick on and put the last two years behind him and find the route to success with the club. Marcus Rashford is a player who has risen in stature and was chosen to play ahead of Lukaku last season.

A player who is now getting the same finishing training that Cristiano Ronaldo received at the club, with Solskjaer clearly looking to get Rashford firing in the goals. After his brace against Chelsea last week; one from the penalty spot, he’s certainly heading in the right direction to increase his goals this season, scoring 13 in all competitions last season.

Attacking midfield depth; five players able to play here, four of them likely to be rotated here during the season.

This is an area which some would include in the midfield, however, with the 4-2-3-1 formation which Solskjaer predominantly uses, this is considered part of the attack, which is why it has been included in this part of the series of squad depth articles. In this area, which in the 4-2-3-1 formation, focuses on the number ten position, or the second striker role.

There are five players that could play in this position; Jesse Lingard, Angel Gomes, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, and Alexis Sanchez, providing he remains at the club, which may not be the case with the links to Inter. Of course, Solskjaer could draft in more youth if this position becomes problematic. Lingard seems the clear starter, based on the Chelsea match.

If Pogba was played in this position, the midfield would struggle, unless the trusted players performed to the best of their abilities and found a way to deal with their roles, leaving Pogba to play a more creative role. However, with Gomes, Mata and to a point, Sanchez, Pogba may not need to play in this position.

Winger depth; seven players able to play in these position but two of those may not be suited.

Since Daniel James arrived from Swansea City for £15 million in the summer, there was a clear problem on the wing for United. The right-wing position was literally none existent with the likes of Mata, Lingard, Rashford, Martial and even Lukaku playing there. Since James arrived, there are more options with United able to utilise the pace of players.

There are seven players able to play on the wing; Martial, Rashford, James, Mata, Sanchez, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood. Five of the seven offer pace, ability, determination and hunger. Mata offers the ability to read the game, although a central position, when he plays, would be better for the squad.

James made his Premier League debut a week ago, coming on in the second half against Chelsea, scoring less than ten minutes later. His pace was problematic for Chelsea and he used his own mistake in the box to carve his name into the history books at the club. Greenwood, Chong, Martial and Rashford also have the pace, although one of the latter two will play a different role. The depth is alright here.

Striker depth; four players are able to play in this area but two of them are destined to lead the line

This is the area which despite Lukaku leaving the club this summer, could well be problematic for Solskjaer. He never replaced the Belgian and unless he has a plan to sign a free agent, will probably stick to what he has in the squad. Martial has led the line against Chelsea and Rashford is also capable of playing here.

Looking at the depth, there are other options which include Greenwood, Sanchez (if he stays), and Lingard (to a point). It may look a bit weak if you look past Martial and Rashford but for one position in the team, there are four options, with more if you look to the academy. D’Mani Bughail-Mellor has scored a few goals for the U23s already this season.

I am not suggesting that he’s ready to play for the first team, however, was Rashford ready before he scored the brace against Midtjylland back in February 2016, then following suit against Arsenal in the Premier League days later? Solskjaer has a few different options and if he tries other players out in this position, he might find that he has more.

I would suggest that this is going to be between both Rashford and Martial for the large part of the season. If Rashford leads the line, Martial could be rested with James playing on the left-wing. If Martial starts, Rashford could play on the left, or James could play there, giving Rashford a rest. It is obviously not the best but could work.

If Sanchez stays this season, I am not saying he will be a starter, but he will be an option, but if rumours are true, he has asked to leave the club and could be on his way out. Could Solskjaer sign a free agent to bolster his side? There are options, although not great ones. I think he would prefer to utilise the talented youth players in the mix.

With Rashford working on his finishing and Martial looking to overcome a turbulent time at United, it could be the winner that everyone is hoping for. There are good players in both of these two and it is about time that they showed themselves and stood up to be counted. If Solskjaer manages to turn the tide with this squad, he can do anything.

The formation above shows the depth in all four of the attacking positions in the 4-2-3-1 formation. If different formations are played, the depth will still be there but it will obviously increase/decrease in various positions. Solskjaer will have a plan of what he is aiming to achieve this season. He also has an idea of the players he will need to target either in January or next summer.

Sir Alex Ferguson once said that ‘attack wins you matches but defence wins you titles’. The defence is the strongest part of United’s squad with the attack being the second strongest area in the squad. The midfield has weaknesses which need to be strengthened but that could be done without money, giving youth players opportunities over time.

Obviously, supporters of the club expected major changes this summer, which was never going to happen. Every summer you see supporters demanding that players are sold etc but in most cases, it does not happen as it is not an easy thing to do. Then, toxicity comes into the fan base and people moan incessantly, which is boring.

Jesse Lingard to be offered new Manchester United contract as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to rebuild his squad

Manchester United attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard is reportedly going to be offered a new contract at the Old Trafford club this summer. The 26-year-old has two years remaining on his current contract with the option of a third year to be added on. It may seem that the club are trying to secure him to a new contract too early, something they did not do with Ander Herrera, who will become a free agent from the 1 July 2019.

Lingard signed his last contract back in April 2017, during what will be seen as his best season at the club so far. His form over the past season has not been the best, struggling with injury, seemingly being brought back too soon, then struggling for form. The player did score for England in the UEFA Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands on Thursday evening, however, it was ruled out by VAR as being offside.

His last contract was said to be in the region of £100,000 per week with the new offer said to be in the region of £130,000 per week. The player has been at United since the age of seven, coming through the clubs academy, eventually making it to the first team after some loan spells at Championship clubs. Sir Alex Ferguson always suggested he would be a late developer.

Many supporters of the Old Trafford club will be wondering why Lingard is going to be rewarded with a new contract. If he can play as he did during the 2017/18 season, where he scored 13 goals in 48 appearances, the contract offer would be something Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be praised for, however, with the lack of morale, leadership and the basic knowledge of how to beat teams, which was shown towards the end of last season, it may not be a popular decision.

Lingard has played a total of 167 times for United since making his debut in the 2014/15 season, scoring a total of 29 goals for the club; 17 of them in the Premier League, five in the FA Cup – one of them the winner during the 2016 final, four in the EFL/Carabao Cup, two in the UEFA Europa League and one in the FA Community Shield – another winner. The 26-year-old has also played 23 times for England, scoring four goals; all were scored in 2018 – on in the FIFA World Cup last summer.

Lingard could well be an important figure in the first team next season. He gets a lot of stick for his posts on social media, his fashion sense – amongst other things. But for me, if he is performing on the pitch like it has been shown he can do, the criticism will soon die down and he will be able to get on with it. United will face a very important 2019/20 season, where they will play in the Europa League once again in a bid to show they might be down but are certainly not out.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopeful that the injury crisis will start to end this week

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes to have at least three more players available as United get ready to face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday evening. For the past few weeks, United have had up to ten players on the sidelines through illness and injury.

Currently, United has Antonio Valencia (muscle), Matteo Darmian (knock), Alexis Sanchez (MCL), Phil Jones (illness), Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, and Jesse Lingard (all hamstring) on the sidelines. Anthony Martial and Nemanja Matic both made their returns from injury against Arsenal and Marcos Rojo has been on the bench for a number of recent matches.

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Solskjaer spoke about injuries during his post-match press conference after United’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates. The Norwegian caretaker manager spoke about the number of injuries he has been dealing with, which also gave opportunities to the likes of Tahith Chong, James Garner and more recently, Mason Greenwood. Solskjaer said:

“No, we don’t have to choose. Because with the injuries we’ve had lately, that’s given us a great chance to give players game time. And they are coming back, maybe for Wolves.

“But after the international break we’ll have a full squad fit and the ones who’ve come in when the regulars have been injured have done really well. We’ll be ready for that.”

On Friday, it was revealed that Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera all took part in the training session, which in itself, suggested that the trio have recovered from their hamstring injuries, which would further boost Solskjaer’s squad for the visit to the Molineux, which is certain to be a tough match for United based on the current Wolves form.

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Solskjaer will be certain to give an update on the state of his squad during his pre-match press conference, which according to the schedule of MUTV, will be broadcast live on the channel from 09:00 GMT on Friday. Whether the likes of Lingard, Herrera, and Mata have endured enough training to be involved in this important match, will be seen then.

It will give the trio four days of training, as presumably, they will have had some involvement in training on Monday, even if the players involved in the Arsenal match on Sunday did not train, also giving them the sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday ahead of the press conference, plus Friday’s session. Perhaps they could be on the bench?

Manchester United must solve the right-wing conundrum this summer

Manchester United have struggled to find a consistent right-winger for quite a long time now. The likes of Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, although useful options have all failed to live up to the expectations of that role. When United signed Alexis Sanchez in the January transfer window, most fans considered his arrival as an automatic solution to that problem. The Chilean international had previously operated in a similar role while at Serie A outfit Udinese and La Liga giants Barcelona.

Prior to that, Martial was in a fine fettle, probably his best run of form since joining United. At 83.5 minutes-per-goal involvement, he was only behind Sergio Aguero on 72.3 minutes and Mohamed Salah on 73.9 minutes. With silky feet and the ability to weave past defences, the 22-year-old offers a real attacking threat for United, causing all manner of problems for defenders. When shifted to the right side, Martial becomes entirely a different player and fails to exert as much influence as he does coming off from the left side of the attack.

On his Premier League debut, Sanchez was played on the left, with Martial moving to the right side; the result was an embarrassing loss in the hands of Mauricio Pochettino’s men. Mourinho kept deploying the duo in a similar fashion whenever he played them together, however, Martial was never to regain the momentum he started the season with. His dip in form caused him a place in the starting eleven, giving Lingard and Mata the opportunity to vie for more minutes. Lingard took the chance with both hands, establishing himself as a key player for Mourinho.

His blistering pace and the nous to go with it in terms of picking and timing his runs made him an ideal option for his manager and a makeweight for an increasingly peripheral Martial. It was only a matter of time before the current transfer circus hit almost every media outlet with reports that the French attacker is resigned to departing Old Trafford. Martial will, however, not the only player needing reassurances of his future at United; Mata may find himself in a similar situation, and one that he will be familiar with prior to his departure from Stamford Bridge four years ago.

The arrival of Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk and the reports that United are looking to sign a right-winger this summer may push the Spaniard further down the pecking order. Earlier in January, United triggered the option for one more year in Mata’s contract. At the time, Mourinho stated that the 30-year-old attacking midfielder was integral to his plans, and scoffed at the media for claiming he’d sell the attacker when he joined United. Mata has deservedly worked hard to earn a place under his current and former Chelsea manager, quelling any lingering doubts of his importance to the squad.

Out of his 38 appearances for United last season, 32 of those were as a right-winger; his lack of pace nonetheless, stresses the need for a natural right-winger to add in the depth of attack. The Spaniard may, however, find consolation in the fact that his manager has publicly and perhaps privately assured him of a major role to play at United; a look at how the gaffer has used him especially in key fixtures, however, points to a different story altogether.

Written by George Oduor

Jesse Lingard has improved leaps and bounds for Manchester United this season

First joining the Manchester United Academy at the age of seven, Jesse Lingard has come a long way in his United career and is beginning to grow in to a true star, putting in consistent and impressive performances for both club and country. Playing his way up through the youth set-up and signing his first professional contact in 2011, Lingard was part of the side that lifted the 2010/11 FA Youth Cup.

However, despite showing bags of potential in the Academy, Lingard struggled to break in to the Manchester first team making only two appearances and missing out on his senior debut on both occasions.

Following on from this Lingard was then sent out on loan to Championship side Leicester City at the start of the 2012/13 season, although after struggling to make a real impact he returned to the Old Trafford club half way through the campaign. The next two seasons would see Lingard take part in further loan spells, with Championship sides Birmingham City, Brighton and Hove Albion and Derby County. Each proving more successful than his time on loan at Leicester City, with Lingard totalling 33 first team appearances and scoring 11 goals.

It was not until the 2015/16 season, however, under manager Louis van Gaal that Lingard began to make a real impact at Manchester United, forcing his way in to the Manchester United first team, making 40 appearances and netting six goals, as well as going on to hit the winning goal against Crystal Palace in the Emirates FA Cup final.

Since the arrival of Jose Mourinho in May 2016, Lingard has not looked back and has continued to be a mainstay in the United first team. Not only did the 25-year-old prove himself to be a great squad player for Mourinho last season but he also chipped in with important goals in the FA Community Shield against Leicester City and in the EFL Cup final against Southampton. However, despite his achievements, Lingard never seemed to get the plaudits he perhaps deserved. With his lack of consistency often leading to heavy critics from both fans and the media alike.

This season though Lingard has overcome his inconsistency and has come on leaps and bounds, with him arguably not only being Manchester United most improved players this season but one of the Premier Leagues most improved players.

For the majority of the season Lingard has been undroppable, taking part in all but four league games so far this campaign. With three games still to go Lingard has already achieved his highest goal tally in a single season scoring 13 goals, seven more than he did last season. Though it is not only Lingard’s finishing that has improved drastically this season but his work ethic and energy in particular seems to have brought much more balance to the team.

A view which is shared by former United captain, defender, and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, who was discussing the topic on Monday Night Football, saying:

“I think Jose Mourinho has needed him in that team as a balance to the players who don’t make the same frequency of runs in behind at the same speed. They don’t have the same work ethic. He has an incredible work ethic on and off the ball.” 

It’s clear that Lingard has really upped a gear this season and is starting to finally prove his doubters wrong and receive some recognition for his ability. Despite not having as much natural talent as some of his counterparts, Lingard has proved that determination and work ethic are just as imported in order to succeeded at the highest level of the game.

There is no doubt that if Lingard continues to play with such consistency that he will be a big player for both club and country for many years to come. Plus, with an FA Cup final just around the corner, I’m sure Lingard will be hoping to take his excellent form in to the final few games of the season and who knows, he’ll maybe even add some goals to his Wembley tally.

Written by Jamie Mackinlay

Jesse Lingard is evolving into a Manchester United star

For most of Jesse Lingard’s career at Manchester United, he has either spent time out on loan at a number of Championship clubs or sitting on the bench at Old Trafford. However, over the last couple of seasons, he has turned into a player who the Red’s cannot afford to leave out of the starting line-up, and is slowly evolving into a star for both club and country.

Lingard joined United’s academy as a seven-year-old and played for the youth sides right up until he signed his first professional contract at Old Trafford in 2011. He was part of the team that won the Youth Cup in 2010/11 along with now, United team-mate Paul Pogba and Everton centre-back, Michael Keane.

After a first season where he was called up the first-team on only two occasions and failed to make his senior debut, Lingard was loaned out in the summer of the 2012/13 season to Championship side Leicester City, making a total of five appearances before returning to United in January. He was loaned out again the following season, to Birmingham City, which proved to be more successful than his first loan spell, as he scored his first senior goal on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday.

He had further loan spells with both Brighton and Hove Albion and Derby County before making a real impact at Old Trafford, which came under the stewardship of Dutchman Louis van Gaal. In Van Gaal’s second season at United, Lingard scored his first competitive goal for the Red’s against West Bromwich Albion before starring in United’s FA Cup winning campaign where he scored the winning goal in the final against Crystal Palace.

Ever since then, Lingard has been a mainstay in the United squad and last season scored in both the Community Shield against Leicester and the EFL Cup final against Southampton. However, it’s been this season where Lingard has really got people talking about him in such glowing terms. Jose Mourinho has said:

“He is being more consistent, he is adaptable, he understands better the game, he understands the different spaces and positions. I think he is going in a good direction.”

That was Lingard’s problem in recent seasons, his lack of consistency, that is why he couldn’t get a steady run in the side, but that has changed this season and has appeared in all but four league games for the Red’s scoring eight goals.

The 25-year-old has become one of the first names on the team sheet, as we enter the final stages of this season and will be an important figure if United are to be successful in both the League and FA Cup.

He is also a front-runner to start for the national side at this summer’s World Cup, which will mark quite a turn-around for the man from Warrington. Long may his form and the trust Mourinho has in him continue, because with the way his football his going he could be a very important player for United not only this season but many seasons to come.

Written by Dan Pearce

Jesse Lingard to be rewarded with a new deal after some fine performances this season – reports

Manchester United attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard is reportedly set to sign a new and improved contract at the Old Trafford club, around 11 months after signing his last renewal. This season, the 25-year-old has been in fine form, scoring 13 goals in all competitions, which has proven former manager Sir Alex Ferguson as being correct after he stated years ago that Lingard would be a late developer in the game. Lingard is not a fans favourite and seems to be criticised for having a life outside of the game, which is obviously not allowed. Not by those ‘top reds’ anyway.

It is suggested that Lingard is already on around £100,000 per week and the targets in his last contract have reportedly been met which has led to the Old Trafford club to draw up some new terms for the player, as was reported by the Daily Star. It would suggest that United want to keep prying eyes off their Academy graduate, which could be the case if he continues his fine form this season. Over the last few years, if you look at his highlight reel, it would make him look like a Ballon d’Or winner.

Later this month, England face the Netherlands and Italy in two international friendlies and Lingard is expected to be a part of the squad for those two matches, with Gareth Southgate looking for the players he needs to put up a fight in Russia for the FIFA World Cup this summer. Lingard has brought something to this United side in the past few seasons and despite the fact that Jose Mourinho doesn’t trust youth, which seems to be a myth made up by the media, Lingard has been trusted time and time again, showing why Mourinho trusts him and others.

Lingard deserves to be a part of the current Manchester United squad. He works tirelessly, trying to ensure United play well and get the results they need and aspire. It does not happen all the time, but that is football. Lingard has scored some great goals this season, the brace he scored at the Emirates against Arsenal will probably be the most memorable so far this season, plus the Milly Rock celebration which annoyed the Arsenal supporters more than the decline of their team over the past few years.

I am sure United will ask more of Lingard if the reports of a new contract heading his way are true and that will help bring out the best in him. It is clear that both the club and the manager trust him, as do his teammates. Lingard did not feature much for United in their 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Old Trafford on Saturday, playing the final few minutes of normal time, and the six minutes of stoppage time, helping United ensure victory, which has shown United continue their fine form recently, coming from behind to beat Chelsea and Crystal Palace, also beating Liverpool.

I like Lingard as a player and a character. Other footballers are entitled to have some banter off the pitch so I don’t see why some United supporters don’t appreciate what Jesse Lingard does for the club. He should be shown more respect. It is Manchester United you support, which includes every player entrusted to wear that famous red shirt. Lingard plays for the badge on the front of the shirt and has his own traits when he celebrates. That should be welcomed, not turned away as it is popular to go against things like this. Lingard is an individual, there should be more like him.

Jesse Lingard is hungry for more goals this season – that is why he should be supported…

Manchester United attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard has spoken about how “hungry for more goals” he is after scoring his seventh goal of the season against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon. It was the eleventh goal Lingard has played a part in this season, scoring seven and assisting a further four – his best season for his club. Lingard’s goal, a deflected strike turned into the winner, the score being 2-0 at the time but the Baggies got a goal back in the second half of the match with United taking all three points back to the Theatre of Dreams.

Lingard, speaking to the official Manchester United website, spoke about his new central role, playing as a number ten in a 4-2-3-1 formation shows that he can have more impact in a game, which has been shown recently which him scoring three goals in the last three away matches, the most important being the goal at the Emirates against Arsenal in what was seen as a great result for United. Lingard, on his new-found position, said:

“Obviously playing further forward you are going to get more goals and create chances also, so to play there with Romelu [Lukaku] means we are getting that understanding now and chipping in [with goals] together.

“I [played there] when I was younger and, when I got into the Reserves side, I played more on the left or the right for my development, but eventually moved inside again. I think [playing centrally] you get on the ball a lot more and you can make things happen more and you can obviously play closer to the main striker and feed off him.

“I’m hungry for more goals and any way I can help the team – assists, goals – and to win the game is the most important thing.”

Speaking about the game itself, Lingard spoke about how vital he thought the result was. United were defeated by Manchester City in the league the weekend before last but have now beaten both Bournemouth and West Brom since that match, which shows how the club have fought back from the disappointing defeat. United have four matches left in December; three in the Premier League and one in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. Lingard said:

“It’s another three points. I thought we defended very well and it was comfortable first half and we kind of let it slip second half but it’s another three points.

“To bounce back with a win [was important]. We’re doing very well on the whole at the moment. Keep that up and we’ll see where we are at the end of the season.”

Manchester City sit eleven points clear of United at the top of the Premier League table after 18 matches being played in the league. Many have written United’s chances – or any other team for the matter this season with City suggested to be the best team ever, which is a label that makes me wonder how much these pundits are being paid to state something so pathetic. United have won six trophies since Sir Alex Ferguson retired – the worst period of the club in recent history. City have won fewer trophies but are ‘apparently’ an all-time great club? Lingard speaking about whether United can catch City, said:

“I think, any other season, we would be top with the points we have, so as long as we keep winning games that’s the most important thing and we will see where we are. We will take each game as it comes, we’ll concentrate on the next game ahead and see where we are at the end of the season.

“With the squad we have got we have to always believe in each game. Some games we will play bad and win the game and sometimes we will play good and lose the game so it’s one of those hap hazards of football.”

Lingard turned 25 in the past week and spoke about passing on his knowledge to the younger players in the squad. Being an Academy graduate and one who rose through the ranks in Jose Mourinho’s side last season, the most successful season post-Ferguson, his experiences could help players such as Scott McTominay, Axel Tuanzebe and to a point Marcus Rashford. Lingard concluded by saying:

“Obviously, I look after the other ones – Scott [McTominay], Axel [Tuanzebe], Rash [Marcus Rashford]. I have just got to keep working hard on the training pitch.

“I think you have got to help them. I think it’s always hard for a young lad coming through. For the likes of Scott who has done well when he has come in, Axel also, it’s just keep working hard in training and it will eventually pay off.”

Lingard is a player who has literally done what Sir Alex Ferguson suggested. He was a late developer and came good at the age he stated, 23. Whilst he may not be the best player at the Old Trafford club, he is a player who should be supported. When United were buying players under the management of Louis van Gaal, many were suggesting that Lingard, who had a good pre-season under David Moyes, should be given the chance. Now many seem to want to get rid of a player who literally defines the club – who for 80 years now have always blooded talented youth. Why should the club change to suit a minority of supporters who have adapted from celebrating United’s successes to moaning about them…

copyright: JW