Those Manchester United fans who saw Jesse Lingard’s pre-season performances must have thought he was destined for David Moyes’ first-team plans this campaign; perhaps not to start many games, but certainly to be involved from the bench on occasions.
The forward scored four goals in four appearances prior to the new campaign, and was a rare shining light on a tour that did not bode well for the season to come.
In the end, it was another young player – Adnan Januzaj – who forced his way into the squad while Lingard went on loan to Birmingham City.
And while the Belgian proved just how good he was with a string of majestic performances, Lingard made a pretty emphatic statement of his own, scoring four on his Birmingham debut and six in total prior to his return to Manchester.
Lingard also made it seven for the season for United’s under-21s, when he scored the only goal of the game against their Sunderland counterparts on Monday evening.
His outstanding strike was enough to give Warren Joyce’s side the victory, and speaking after the match, the coach praised the 21-year-old.
Speaking to MUTV, Joyce said, “Jesse has been different class. His attitude has been great, to come back from starring out on loan to playing under-21 games that he was doing three years ago and also starring in.
“He still does the right things all the time. His work-rate was phenomenal and his decision-making was good plus it was a great goal for the boy again.”
Given his age, Lingard will be hoping to make it into Moyes' plans in the very near future. Having been selected for a place on the bench against Swansea City last month, he now has to kick on and prove he can star alongside Januzaj and the rest in Moyes’ version of United.
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