Before the season restarted, Jesse Lingard had hope that there may be a new beginning for him at Manchester United.
After four games back, Lingard has carried on right where he left off, on the sidelines.
The figures make grim reading for the 27-year-old, who should be approaching the peak of his career. Instead this is one of his worst seasons yet.
Since Bruno Fernandes signed for the club, Jesse Lingard has played a total of two Premier League minutes. Two out of a possible 720 minutes.
In the last seven Premier League games, Lingard has not played a single minute. Zero.
In those seven league games, Lingard has made the substitute’s bench just two times.
Since the restart, Lingard has played 63 minutes out of a total of 390 which he could have featured for.
Before Fernandes signed, Lingard played 1,503 minutes of United’s season.
Since then, he has played just 274 minutes, with this game time almost exclusively in cup games, when United have rotated the team.
Lingard’s Premier League record, and absence from the team and even the squads, when there is a 20-man bench, tells it’s own story.
As does his lack of productivity. In 20 Premier League matches, Lingard has 0 goals, and 0 assists.
In his one game in the FA Cup since the restart, Lingard attempted four shots, landed 0 on target, and created 0 chances. He was then dropped from the squad for the Brighton game.
He is being phased out
These numbers have to make scary reading for Lingard. His United career is coming to an end.
It was his lack of productivity this season, and last, which led to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer snapping and ordering Fernandes be signed in January.
United gave Lingard breathing room last summer, as with Anthony Martial, by not buying a replacement, and giving him the game time to step up.
Martial has done so, while Lingard has not. And with Fernandes in sensational form, Lingard can barely even get on the bench in the league.
This is worrying for Lingard because United should want to rest and rotate Fernandes. But there are a dire lack of alternatives, quality ones at least.
Andreas Pereira fares little better, but he is at least four years younger than Lingard. The England international should be doing better.
Now, football can change quickly, and Lingard could be included in the squad against struggling Bournemouth this weekend, pick up form, grab a goal, and begin to turn his fortunes around.
He needs something dramatic, because at the moment it appears very clearly that he is heading for the exit door.
The Mirror report Lingard is one of the players United are keen to sell this summer to raise funds, and Solskjaer’s actions back this up.
Even if he ends on a high note, with a trophy, or even a meaningful contribution, the totality of Lingard’s season has not been good enough. It shouldn’t change the need to replace him.
United need better, and have to try. To accept Lingard’s performances this season would be to accept failure, and it looks like Solskjaer is getting ruthless.
His time is fast running out. Even if he accepts and believes this, he should be playing hard and fighting to earn his next move.
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