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Manchester United 2018-19 Player Reviews: Jesse Lingard

Good for humiliating Arsenal, but not much else

Manchester United v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Lingard’s season turned sour with a severe hamstring injury in February. He had played reasonably well up to that point — including a brace in Solskjaer’s first match as caretaker manager — but never looked the same afterwards. That injury short-circuited his entire season and leaves big doubts about his future as a starter.

The 26-year-old could be the 10th or 11th best player on a title-winning team. He runs hard, follows tactical instructions to the letter, and can even chip in with a goal or two. Unfortunately, there’s not much margin for error here. Any drop in form, especially a prolonged one like this season, makes Lingard an expensive (and limited) luxury. KC

Manchester United v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Jesse Lingard missed six games in the first and second half of this year with a groin strain and a hamstring injury. In the Premier League, the Englishman made 27 appearances for the Red Devils. Out of those performances, he only managed to register four goals and two assists. His most disappointing effort came in April’s Manchester derby when he could have nabbed an equalizer, but wasn’t able to convert. While Lingard can’t be blamed for many of United woes these last several month, he also wasn’t his best in crucial performances for his side.

Following the 2-0 loss against Cardiff in the season finale at Old Trafford, Lingard promised the squad will “regroup and come back stronger.” He also told MUTV he’s ready to play for a top-tier club again. Let’s hope this is indeed the case when they return to training in January. Otherwise, it could field transfer rumors for the 26-year-old academy graduate. VN

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The nadir of Jesse Lingard’s season came late, when the Sky Sports pundits — Graeme Souness, Roy Keane and Gary Neville — collectively called upon Paul Pogba to step up and become a leader in the Manchester United dressing room; in other words, to become the senior player the likes of Lingard can bounce off in the big games. As everyone on social media was quick to point out, Lingard is in fact nine months Pogba’s senior.

This little anecdote can be read several ways: as, for example, in revealing the ignorance of the pundits, or perhaps the unfair burden of expectation placed on Pogba to lift the performances of a sub-par team.

Yet, most damningly, it is also indicative of the ways in which Lingard still looks like a fresh academy graduate. While this means he plays with a certain joy and naïveté that enables him to occasionally pull off a spontaneously brilliant feat, it also means he lacks the consistency and reliability of a player cut out for the top level. We’d like nothing more for Lingard to make it, but it’s looking less likely with every passing season, and misplaced pass. JS