Manchester United fans react angrily on Twitter to Lingard loan

Inside Old Trafford

Manchester United loaned out talented Jesse Lingard to Brighton yesterday, is it a missed opportunity for the Red Devils?

Manchester United took the decision yesterday to loan out Jesse Lingard to Championship side Brighton, his second spell in the division this season.

He dazzled earlier in the campaign for Birmingham, scoring a staggering four goals on his debut.

It has been a stirring season for the youngster, who finished Manchester United's pre-season tour with four goals, yet despite the Red Devils' troubles on the pitch this season, he has not played a single minute for the first team.

While there's an argument that playing him now while the team's confidence is slow could hamper his development, that's the fearful way of looking at it.

United have always been known for being bold, and giving youth a chance - and just like David Moyes' decision not to include Adnan Januzaj on the bench against Olympiakos, Lingard constantly being overlooked has been frustrating for fans to say the least, especially with talented attacker Nick Powell also on loan.

There's a fair argument that this season is now lost for United, and playing Lingard would allow Moyes a better chance to assess him ahead of the next, which would have the added effect of getting him attuned to the Premier League for next season, and giving the manager further hints where he needs to spend money to strengthen in the summer.

It was not so long ago that United's title challenge was flagging back in 2008/09, and Sir Alex Ferguson gambled on a young Federico Macheda off the bench, who had been similarly dazzling for the under-21s.

Now the Italian's career hasn't panned out well overall, but there's no denying the two winning goals he scored that season gave the club an injection of momentum which got them back on track.

Their situation now is far more serious, but United need a spark - and they certainly are not getting it from the likes of Ashley Young or Antonio Valencia. If anybody believes Nani will provide it when he returns from his hamstring injury then they too are kidding themselves.

Giving a chance to Lingard, a creative player who is the top scorer for the under-21 side despite his months out on loan at Brighton could have been gold.

What would the worst that could have happened been if he were thrown in for the home leg against Olympiakos on the big stage with a chance to make a hero of himself?

That chance has passed United by now, and while Moyes sees the player first hand, the words of under-21 coach Warren Joyce to describe him this week as 'different class' with a 'phenomenal work rate', certainly indicate that he should be handed an opportunity.

Next season with Juan Mata no longer cup-tied in the Champions League, Powell back, and new signings, the path to the first team will surely be blocked further for the Warrington-born youngster, and this may well be looked back on as a missed opportunity.

United fans were certainly taken aback at the decision to send Lingard back down to the Championship, and made their views clear via Twitter:

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