Manchester United starlet makes strong case to win first team debut at Chelsea

Returning from Birmingham City, highly rated midfielder Jesse Lingard proved to be the difference for Manchester United's U21s in their win over Southampton

Manchester United had to come from behind to claim all three points against, challenged by a very impressive and valiant effort from Southampton's prestigious academy. 

United under-21 manager Warren Joyce fielded an experienced side for the game, including five players that have returned from Championship loan duty - namely, Tyler Blackett (Blackpool), Federico Macheda (Doncaster Rovers), Sam Johnstone (Yeovil Town), Will Keane (Wigan Athletic) and Jesse Lingard (Birmingham City)

The Saints started the game brightly and took advantage of a brief drop in concentration at the back, with 19-year-old Omar Rowe smashing the ball past Sam Johnstone. Not long after Southampton nearly made it two through Jack Stephens, but he saw his magnificent long range effort just go wide of the post.

But it was midfield starlet Jesse Lingard that really pulled United back into the game and showed his finesse when notching his first goal of 2014. The England under-21 midfielder drove forward from midfield, before unleashing a spectacular 25-yard pile driver that hit the top corner of the net perfectly.

The Reds sealed the game up through Larnell Cole, after Davide Petrucci plated up a chance from a divine ball that was finished excellently from the 20-year-old attacker.

However, it was 21-year-old Jesse Lingard that had people talking after the match, providing another solid performance that has given him a strong case to finally make his United debut.

After appearing on the bench for the first team in United's 2-0 win over Swansea at the weekend, indicates the player may not be too far away from Moyes's mind. Lingard was the top scorer on United's pre-season tour of Asia and the loan move to Birmingham certainly did him no harm.

United travel to Stamford bridge at the weekend and with Lingard likely to be named on the subs bench, he may get the chance to become a game changer in one of their biggest games of the season.

He enjoyed a brilliant loan spell at Birmingham City this season, scoring 6 goals in 13 games, which including foir goals on his debut. And with that, he has also proved he is too good for the under-21 side, scoring a goal a game at that level.

Moyes is reportedly looking for an attacking midfielder, but if Lingard can have the same impact as Januzaj, then it could be a masterstroke by Moyes to throw him in at the deep end.

image: © joncandy

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