By Mark Weasley
It is hard to believe that Manchester United player, Jesse Lingard has scored more goals than Eden Hazard, Sadio Mane and Kevin De Bruyne this season in the league. He has impressed over the course of the last two weeks and that has been due to the fact that manager, Jose Mourinho has shifted him to the central attacking midfield position just behind the striker.
He has scored 7 goals in 9 matches during the festive period and is perhaps in the best form of his life. Back in 2012, legendary United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson predicted that Lingard would get to the best at the age of 24, as he was a late bloomer. Lingard is 25 now, and looking every inch the Manchester United player that Sir Alex predicted those years ago.
He is now one of the first names on the teamsheet and is also in the running to start at this summer’s World Cup for the Three Lions of England. Manchester United fans thought he would be yet another youngster at the club who would fail to reach his full potential, but he is showing he is his own player, and we are all delighted by his improvements in the final third, especially his decision making.
The irregular form of Armenian international, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has led to more prominence for Lingard and he has taken his opportunities with both hands. The 28-year-old former Borrussia Dortmund playmaker started the season as the preferred playmaker and looked the part, with many suggesting Lingard go away from the club in January for more first team opportunities in a bid to make England’s party to Russia.
Long used as a winger due to his pace and crossing ability, Mourinho has unearthed a raw diamond in him, and has placed him in the no. 10 role, a position he has taken like duck to water. He registered a sublime strike against Everton recently and fans must be hoping that his form this time will continue for a long time.
While Pep Guardiola has been hailed across the city for transforming Raheem Sterling, Jose also deserves credit for rewarding hardwork from a player many thought would make up the numbers this term. The No. 10 role is tailor made for Lingard, and everybody is happy at that development. Good to see an homegrown player do well in the first team.