A member of the famous Class of ’92 squad thinks that the midfielder’s form at West Ham could tempt the Red Devils to keep him on their books
Manchester United might want Jesse Lingard back, according to Gary Neville, but he’s warned that the West Ham loan star would probably have to settle for a bit-part role in the squad.
Lingard joined the Hammers on a six-month loan deal in January after falling down the pecking order in the Red Devils squad under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The 28-year-old has since rediscovered his best form, helping the Hammers fight for Champions League qualification in the process, and Neville thinks his old club may now be tempted to give him a second chance.
What’s been said?
“He does an incredible amount of running,” the United legend told Sky Sports. “It’s what he does. He’s good out of possession and good in possession.
“At Manchester United because there is that expectation of what you need to be, to be a wide player there, he’s always going to get a difficult press.
“But if he was playing in a world-class team, if he was, say, Ji-Sung Park 10 years ago playing with Ronaldo and Rooney, doing that supplementary role, then people would be saying he’s perfect for this squad.
“The problem is he was not playing in Manchester United teams as good as that, so he gets a bit of stick.
“He’s a really good player. He’s going to have a great career. Manchester United have sent him out to West Ham to boost his career, maybe with the thought of boosting his price tag, but they might be thinking, ‘actually, we might want him back, he could be a real help to us.'”
Neville added: “If Jesse wants to play, and you can see he does want to play, then he needs to leave, because he’s not going to play every single week for a Manchester United team that’s competing for second or first place in the league.
“But if he’s willing to go back there and compete and be the player that Dan James has been for the last few weeks, in and out, then there’s no doubt he can play for Manchester United.”
Lingard’s record for West Ham
Neville was speaking after seeing Lingard score his sixth goal for the Hammers in a 3-2 victory away at Wolves on Monday night.
The England international also has three assists to his name from his first eight games for the club, and has had more goal involvements than any other player in the Premier League since making his debut on February 3.
The bigger picture
West Ham do not have the option to buy Lingard outright at the end of the season, meaning he will likely return to Old Trafford before a final decision is made on his next move.
However, Hammers boss David Moyes has admitted that he hopes the playmaker will extend his stay at the London Stadium as he continues to try and build a squad capable of challenging the ‘big six’.
Lingard still has one year left to run on his contract at United, but will likely have a big decision to make in the summer as to whether he stays and fights for his place or looks to leave the Red Devils in pursuit of regular first-team football.