Manchester United's top 20 youngsters: #5

Brendon Thorne

Our countdown of Manchester United's top youth prospects reaches number five with Jesse Lingard, a midfielder who's shown some of his talent on the 2013 pre-season tour.

In order to help run the rule over United's younger players, we enlisted the help of Doron Salomon, a regular youth-game watcher, to pass on some comments about the next generation of United talent. You can also find more of Doron's work on Stretford End.

If you missed the previous instalments of this series, you can find the full list of our top Manchester United youngsters here.


#5 - Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard will need less introduction than many of the players before him, as we've recently seen plenty of his talent on our pre-season tour. Scoring several excellent goals, Lingard displayed all his best attributes, showing his invention, touch, and finishing as he emerged as one of the brightest players on the tour, although there is reason not to be too optimistic.

Plenty of players have looked good on tour without making it before, and Lingard's loan to Leicester City last season was a fairly comprehensive failure, mostly put down to his lack of physicality. It's certainly one of the areas in which he needs to improve, along with his general passing technique. Usually deployed on the wing, Lingard can play in a variety of positions and has an all-round collection of attributes which can make him dangerous in any position. Could feature for United throughout this season unless he's farmed out on loan.

Doron: "Followers of United's Academy and Reserves sides will have watched Jesse, the scrawny, tiny, stick-thin, teenager over the years. He's part of a group of technically excellent young footballers to come through the Academy but height and size has always gone against him. Because of that he's worked hard to make up for it in other areas - speed of thought, use of space, speed, and a desire to shoot early. He's not really a winger but he's one of these new breed type footballers that can play anywhere and is best given freedom to roam about.


"He's excelled on the pre-season tour, helped by the fact he's worked hard in the gym to add some core strength to his frame - something that it became obvious he missed when a loan at Leicester didn't quite go as hoped in early 2013. That he went on tour is obviously testament to his development but he was helped by the fact that others were involved in various international youth tournaments earlier in the summer meaning they were ruled out of travelling. Surprisingly, Jesse's never been capped by England at any level. Where this season goes for him is hard to call but he's giving Moyes a tough but good dilemma."

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