Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Face It, Jesse Has Talent to Be United Star

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Face It, Jesse Has Talent to Be United Star

Article excerpt

IT was during one disarmingly honest interview last year that Raheem Sterling offered an explanation to the personal criticism he receives. He said: "I've got that face. The 'I don't like face.'" There have been times during his United career when Jesse Lingard may have been tempted to think likewise.

An extremely talented young footballer, living out his boyhood dream to play for club and country, he has repeatedly found himself the whipping boy of Jose Mourinho's developing team.

When he signed a new contract in April - believed to be worth in the region of £100,000-a-week - he was unwittingly made the poster boy of everything that was wrong with Premier League spending.

It prompted Tony Cascarino to devote an entire column to it - asking 'what has Lingard shown over a season or two? OK, an eye for an important goal or two in a cup final, but after that just a few starts and a couple of decent dance moves.' For the record, Lingard scored the winner in an FA Cup final - the first major trophy won by United post Sir Alex Ferguson. He scored again as they won their second the following season, the League Cup triumph over Southampton just weeks before being handed his new deal.

United's hierarchy and coaches, Mourinho included, would consider £100,000-a-week a relative snip for a current England international and first-team player.

How much would it cost to replace him in terms of fee and salary? Still, his handshakes, goal celebrations and social media profile seem to rub people up the wrong way. To the extent that his quality on the pitch is overlooked.

His wonderful solo goal against Watford on Tuesday night might just start to change opinions.

His handshakes, celebrations media profile rub people wrong James It capped what had been an impressive performance before that - following on from his encouraging display against Basel in the Champions League a week earlier.

Lingard has pace, composure on the ball and intelligent movement.

He has performed as well as anyone on the right for United this season as Mourinho has chopped and changed in a bid to find the solution to a problem position. …

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