These days it can be hard to tell if Jesse Lingard is out injured or simply dropped from the squad.
He has not been part of United’s matchday squad since he was an unused substitute in the defeat to Tottenham at the start of the month.
Lingard has not played a minute in the Premier League all season, featuring for 99 minutes across two Carabao Cup matches last month.
His absence from the squads for the last few games appears to have been injury related.
Havng left his absence for the Newcastle and PSG match unaddressed, United listed him as unavailable for the Chelsea game last weekend.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said of Eric Bailly and Lingard, via the club website: “Eric won’t be available. Jesse won’t be available so we’ll manage without them for a few weeks I think.”
Well, Lingard could be ahead of Solskjaer’s schedule, having been pictured out on the training pitch at Carrington on Friday.
Lingard appeared to have been training individually, although it is not totally clear.
Nothing about Lingard’s absence has been clear, with United not once stating why he was out.
It’s unknown whether Lingard was missing with injury or illness.
Well timed, but too soon
Arsenal fans probably would not be pleased to see Lingard return ahead of United’s match with the Gunners this weekend. The midfielder has a strong record of scoring against them.
Sunday’s match is likely be too soon, even if Lingard was an important part of the side.
Part of the reason his absence has gone unaddressed is because sadly for Lingard, he has fallen down the pecking order.
He is competing with Bruno Fernandes, Donny van de Beek and Juan Mata for starts, and he is at the back of the queue.
Lingard will want a chance to try and change that, and he will have to be patient.
The first job is for him to return to fitness. He is making some steps forward, but it is possible we don’t see him until after the international break.
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