Why Man United shouldn’t be in hurry to hand Jesse Lingard a new deal
According to a report from the Daily Star, Manchester United have started to work a new contract for midfielder Jesse Lingard.
Despite several high-profile arrivals and departures during the summer transfer window, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still has decisions to make regarding the make-up of his squad.
While Jesse Lingard has a deal in place until 2021, it is believed that Solskjaer wants a contract in place until the end of the 2023-24 campaign.
Lingard, 26, is completely out of depth after failing to score or assist a goal since the end of January. He started the first three games of the season for Manchester United but struggled to make an impact.
The Red Devils suffered their first defeat of the campaign a couple of weeks back as they were beaten 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace. In that game, Lingard was substituted after just 56 minutes and was replaced by Mason Greenwood.
He is 26, a regular fixture for United and a full professional for England. The Englishman is a versatile player but his main position in the United team isn’t yet clear. It is always great to have versatile players in the squad as those can be trusted in any number of positions.
That’s what Lingard is all about but after initially impressing at United by filling in whenever needed, his inability to cement his place in a particular area of the pitch has attracted him a lot of criticism from fans and pundits alike.
The 26-year-old has become a divisive character amongst the club’s fans for both his behaviour on and off the pitch, and his performance so far this campaign has done little to change things. He is a vital component in Solskjaer’s young team as he brings a lot of pace, energy and directness to their attack.
He is capable of making late runs into the box but lacks the guile to make the most of it. He knows how to pick up spaces behind the defenders but lacks the quality to carve open defences.
It’s high time for Lingard to step up and start delivering as he approaches his 27th birthday. Even he isn’t contributing with assists and goals, the attacker can actually help the team by playing with more convicting and purpose, whilst making an impact whenever coming on from the bench.
It’s up to him and other United attackers to prove they can shoulder the added responsibility created by Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez’s exits.
Solskjaer and co. must wait for some more months to see if Lingard is improving or not. There is still time for the player’s contract to run down.
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Meanwhile, the England international needs to start producing the goods to vindicate his position in Solskjaer’s starting XI. And that might well be the ticket for a new bumper contract at United.