Man Utd have their own Andres Iniesta ready to help Ralf Rangnick
Manchester United appear to be short on attackers ahead of their FA Cup match against Middlesbrough on Friday night. Mason Greenwood will not play for the club again for the foreseeable future, while Anthony Martial and Amad have both gone on loan. Ralf Rangnick is about to put his trust in Jesse Lingard
Lingard had hoped to leave United on deadline day, with Newcastle and West Ham both interested in signing the 29-year-old.
However, he was denied the opportunity to leave Old Trafford, and with his contract coming to an end, he is now expected to stay until the summer, when he will be a free agent.
United has been chastised for delaying the arrival of Lingard. Especially considering his lack of playing time this season under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Rangnick.
Lingard, on the other hand, now has a chance to prove that he deserves to stay at United. At the very least, his departure in the summer will be a loss for them and a win for him.
Lingard’s abilities have traditionally been valued by United, regardless of his playing time.
Rene Meulensteen, who kept a close eye on Lingard during his time at Manchester United, once compared him to Andres Iniesta.
“Jesse had numerous loan clubs and then he came back,” the Dutchman remarked in February 2020.
“And I believe Louis van Gaal was the manager at the time, and Louis was a huge believer in bringing young players through, so Jesse and [Marcus] Rashford both had the chance to play in the first team.”
“You need that luck, and certain managers can see it.”
“Jesse, like Iniesta for Barcelona, always had qualities in his game.”
Meulensteen was criticised for his comments until January of last year.
Lingard went nearly the whole 2019/2020 season without scoring or assisting, scoring only once in a 2-0 win over Leicester on the season’s last day.
But, following a successful loan spell at West Ham, the United great has resurrected his career.
Despite the criticism Lingard was receiving at the time, David Moyes thought he was onto a winner when he signed him.
Moyes remarked at the time, “I’ve watched him play as a young lad, when he was still a wide player on the right, and I’ve seen him play off the left.”
“He’s played for England as a No 10, he’s played for England as a No 8, and I believe he could also play as a False nine if we required him.”
“We’re bringing in that versatility because I’m trying to put together an active team right now, and Jesse is known for his work ethic and drive.
“So I think he’ll fit right in with what we have.”
I’m hoping he also brings some quality and a winning attitude from Manchester United.”
Lingard went ahead and did just that.
During his stint at the London Stadium, the United striker was outstanding, scoring nine goals in 16 Premier League games.
Lingard also contributed four assists, earning him a first call-up to the England squad since 2018.
However, his continued absence from the United first squad has remained a mystery to this date.
Lingard hasn’t been particularly bad or inconsistent. He, like Donny van de Beek, has been given a second chance.
Rangnick must now get him fully fire and back to his West Ham form after only nine Premier League games.
Lingard came off the substitute to help United defeat West Ham 2-1 in September, scoring a stunning late winner in London.
And it will be up to him to get the club into the Champions League next season.
United might just be able to turn their season around if they can get Lingard back to where he was a year ago.
Play with him. Because the alternative is another season in the Europa League, which would be even another stumbling block on an already difficult path.