England head coach Gareth Southgate believes that while Jesse Lingard now has a challenge of getting playing time at Manchester United, he will take that on and get the time he needs. The 28-year-old was linked with a move away over the summer but nothing materialized despite numerous arrivals.
With moves for both Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, it means that playing time for certain players in the Manchester United squad will potentially drop down. On that list includes the likes of Donny van de Beek and Jesse Lingard but despite playing only four minutes of league action so far, the latter earned an England call-up. However, Lingard justified his selection with a brace in the Three Lions’ World Cup qualifier recently but it still has fans wondering why Gareth Southgate picked him.
That was because the 28-year-old was heavily linked with a move to West Ham, after a successful loan spell last season, but nothing materialized before the window closed. Yet despite that, and despite the numerous options ahead of him at Old Trafford, Southgate believes that Lingard will fight his way back to prominence for the club. The England boss also added that the attacker has done brilliantly over the last year to rebound and will eventually make his way back.
"That’s a situation that we have had with different players over a long period with England. It wasn’t long ago that the numbers of English players in the league was low and we would have to pick players that weren’t regulars in their team or on loan. We picked Mason [Mount] from the Championship so we have had to be creative,” Southgate said, reported Goal.
"We know Jesse has a challenge and he knows he has a big challenge with the quality of attacking players at United. But they’ve also got a lot of matches in different competitions so hopefully he can take that challenge on and he will take that challenge on.
"He has rebounded brilliantly in the last 12 months from a difficult period and he has shown that he has got quality. It is not necessarily the quality of the opponent but it is performing with the quality of players that we have and stand out. That shows his level of quality.
With Lingard picked over the likes of Harvey Barnes, James Ward-Prowse, Jarrod Bowen and a few others, it saw many fans and critics alike get after Gareth Southgate despite the 28-year-old’s brace against Andorra. However, Southgate admitted that while he knew he’d get criticized for the move, he believes that Lingard’s intelligence and work-ethic would be key for the Three Lions. He also added that the forward is always a threat and a "player that always plays well for us".
"I know that I have had criticism for including him in squads but he is just a player that always plays well for us. He is always a threat on goal with bright link play. When we ask him to start wide, we know he will come in and do the give-and-gos.
"He has really good intelligence and works hard without the ball and presses well. [Against Andorra] I thought he was the brightest spark, particularly in the first half as it was the type of game where those players who can manipulate the ball between the lines would shine more than others,” he added.