It was a tough weekend for Jesse Lingard after he was left out of Manchester United’s matchday squad against Crystal Palace.
Within hours he was linked with a transfer, with ESPN reporting interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Zenit St Petersburg.
It has become clear Lingard is not part of United’s best XI, and if he wants to play regularly, then a departure from the club is in his interests.
But until a decent bid comes in for him, he is United’s player, and last night he showed he can still be a valuable squad player.
Creativity on show
Lingard played all 90 minutes as United visited Luton Town in the Carabao Cup.
He was actually looking to make it three goals in three successive games, after netting against Leicester City and LASK on his previous two competitive appearances for United.
He certainly tried his best, taking four attempts at goal, but his shooting was pretty wild. Only one landed on target.
Fortunately Lingard’s passing was far more crisp and accurate, as he recorded a 89 per cent completion rate.
While at times Lingard can be too safe, he demonstrated a creative element to his game as he carved out the joint highest number chances on the pitch.
Lingard made four key passes, equal with Juan Mata, as both players looked to enjoy themselves against the Championship opponents.
While neither Lingard or Mata are naturals for the wide roles, they both worked hard and made the best of the possession they had.
Lingard also made one successful dribble, one tackle, and one interception.
In the shop window
So Lingard showed something against Luton, which is more than he did in many of his ineffective displays last season.
The question now is whether this bright display leads to kickstarting his United career, or a move elsewhere.
We will only find out the answer after the October 5 deadline, as right now Lingard’s future probably depends on whether a good offer comes in.
If a bid of around £25 million comes in for Lingard, it is a bid United probably have to accept and reinvest.
But if he does end up staying at United, Lingard at least showed he can be of use to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when he is needed.
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