Yesterday saw Manchester United confirm the return of several young players from various loan spells in the Football League and Belgium.
Ben Amos, Federico Macheda, Davide Petrucci, Tyler Blackett and Will Keane all returned from spells with Carlisle United, Doncaster Rovers, Royal Antwerp, Blackpool and Wigan Athletic respectively - but the one causing the most intrigue was always bound to be Jesse Lingard.
The 21-year-old made an immediate impact after joining up with Birmingham City. On his debut v Sheffield Wednesday he bagged FOUR goals in one game - and went on to score six goals in 13 games - with a knee injury hampering somewhat midway through his spell in the Midlands.
Lingard was always earmarked for success this season after he stood out on the clubs pre-season tour. United were disappointing in Asia, but Lingard was a shining light - bagging four goals in as many matches.
Back then he stated how he wanted to break into the first-tea at United - and avoid more loan deals, prior to the Birmingham deal this is:
"Usually they send you out on loan, then you come back and then go out on loan again. Hopefully I can skip the loan stage this time and break straight through."
So … can Lingard get into the first team now?
At 21-years-old - if he is going to be a future United player he really needs to start playing regularly for the club by now or start considering moving on.
Moyes was obviously impressed with his performances on tour and with Birmingham - you’d be hard pushed not to be, but is he ready to be a United regular.
No … but a bench player?
Why not? With United pout of the title race and having to chase for a European spot now they need to mix things up, experiment and change the dynamics at the club to get the best out of the team.
Moyes is not a fan of the January window - and as much as he needs to bring players in he will not want to overpay - and we all know January deals come with a premium.
Birmingham want him back on loan - and that certainly is the easiest option.
Or United could throw the dice on him, with the FA Cup tie against Swansea City this weekend the perfect opportunity to give him that chance.
image: © Paolo Camera