Jesse Lingard says he wants to use the Astana game at the end of last month to help him kick on as a leader for United.
Lingard was the captain for the game, a one off match where United brought 14 academy players in the first team squad.
He scored the opening goal in the 2-1 loss and his performances have kicked on since.
Lingard told The Independent: “I said at the start of the season I’d like to become more vocal on and off the pitch, more of a leader on and off the pitch. The Astana game was perfect for that.
“From being at the club since I was seven, it’s(the captaincy) a huge honour and me and my family are so proud. Everyone back home was watching and were so happy. For me, that was the first step. It’s about carrying it on now.”
Lingard needed something to kickstart his 2019 and at long last this might have been it.
He showed signs of life the game before Astana when he came off the bench against Sheffield United and helped us to turn the game around.
Lingard started both wins against Tottenham and Manchester City and is playing with confidence, even if he is still looking for his first Premier League goal of the season.
He came close against City, having a shot saved by Ederson in the first half and linked up well with his teammates.
Lingard is not available to face AZ Alkmaar tonight as he is dealing with an injury, with the club website reporting he missed training yesterday.
United need to strengthen Lingard’s position as his loss of form and lack of goals throughout this year has shown it is one of the team’s weak points.
For now it is good to see him back playing well again and hopefully he can keep it up.
If he takes his responsibility as a leader importantly, he cannot hide on the pitch.
He needs to raise his level and the game against Astana might have been a jolt to the system to remind him he is not one of the kids any more, he is a senior player and United expect him to act and play like it, on and off the field.
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