Jesse Lingard has “the same level of ability” as Manchester United team-mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan, according to Paul Scholes.
The 24-year-old was a late bloomer at Old Trafford, with several loan spells required before he got his big break.
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He has since gone on to become a senior England international and earn a lucrative contract, but questions continue to be asked of his ability to contribute on a consistent basis.
The same can, however, be said for Mkhitaryan – who has been out of favour again of late – and Scholes believes Lingard would be held in higher regard if he was a bigger name.
The legendary United midfielder told BT Sport: “Maybe they [his team-mates] don’t trust him enough.
“He’s not the big name of a Mkhitaryan or somebody like that. He’s got that ability. He’s got the same level of ability as Mkhitaryan.
“He can score goals, he can make goals. What’s his best position?
“He has to establish himself now, he has to be more consistent, he has to produce more performances like that to make him a real first-team player.
“I don’t think he’s ever gone on from that bit-part player yet – now he needs to.”
Lingard did prove his worth to the United cause in his most recent outing, as he netted a spectacular strike away at Watford.
With Jose Mourinho’s side having seen the Hornets hit back from three goals down at Vicarage Road to pull within one, the Red Devils needed inspiration from somewhere.
Lingard provided it with a surging run and finish which started inside his own half.
He was replaced two minutes later by Zlatan Ibrahimovic as United sought to see the game out, but he had already made his mark and will be determined to build on his goal in the coming weeks and prove Scholes right.