Jesse Lingard has had a very unsatisfactory restart and at times has failed to make Manchester United’s matchday squad.
On Sunday for a brief moment, his pain and frustration was all forgotten.
Lingard scored United’s second goal in the win over Leicester to seal a victory in stoppage time, capitalising on a defensive mistake from the Foxes.
First league goal since 2018
This was Lingard’s first Premier League goal for Manchester United since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first match as manager against Cardiff in December 2018.
The barren run which has come in between these matches could cost him his United career. The Telegraph reports United are open to offers for the midfielder.
Objectively it would be wrong to say that Lingard is suddenly good enough to stay, simply because he scored a late tap in against Leicester.
So let’s appreciate it for what it was, one possibly last happy moment for a player who could be on his way out of the club.
Solskjaer told the club website after the game: “He’s had a difficult season and a difficult year but everyone has that throughout a career, or a life, and has been through it and come through it.
“He’s been excellent in training – lively and bubbly – and I’m very, very happy for him to get the final goal of the Premier League season for us.”
Academy kid made good
Lingard has provided a lot of positive moments to United through the years along with the frustration.
His winning goal in the 2016 FA Cup final put his name in United’s history. It was a special moment for a kid who came through the club’s academy.
If he wants to play regular football, then it is clear he needs to leave United this summer. He has not started a Premier League match since January.
United are likely to strengthen in the upcoming transfer window, and that will make Lingard’s task even tougher.
A contribution of just one goal and no assists in 21 Premier League games just isn’t good enough and Lingard needs to test himself elsewhere.
Letting him go would be the right move, but it is also pretty sad how he has just seen his performances drop off and decline over the past 18 months.
So if Lingard is leaving this summer, this was an ideal way to bow out, scoring a goal to leave on a high note.
There could be a little more to come too, as he could be involved in the knockout phase of United’s Europa League campaign.
This may give him an opportunity to fight for his future, or even leave the club on a higher note, by winning a trophy.
Whatever happens in the Europa League though, Lingard will be able to look back on perhaps his final Premier League game for United with pride.
He was able to come on and help secure a top four spot, something meaningful for the club, and score a goal to round it off.
It may be the end for him at United. At least this way, to see him possibly sign out with a goal, it doesn’t feel so bad.
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