Lingard over Martial and Mkhitaryan - Neville wants regular run for Man Utd's 'shining light'

The England international has been in fine form of late and a Red Devils legend believes he is more deserving of a starting spot than some rivals

Jesse Lingard is more deserving of a starting spot at Manchester United than Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, says Gary Neville.

The England international has been in fine form over recent weeks, netting seven times in his last nine appearances.

His contribution has been crucial to United, with the Red Devils having collected priceless points on the back of his efforts in the final third.

Neville believes that the 25-year-old is now one of the “shining lights” at Old Trafford and should be offered a regular run by Jose Mourinho in which to further enhance his reputation.

A man who knows all about the benefits of home-grown talent having formed part of the legendary Class of ’92, told Sky Sports: “Jesse Lingard's improvement has shown he has everything you want from a Manchester United player.

“Not in terms of skills necessarily but in terms of passion, commitment and loving the badge. Those are the most important characteristics for United players. Those players will always deliver more.

Gary Neville Jesse Lingard over Martial and Mkhitaryan

“United is a big place to play and you have to have the desire and resilience. I've heard people challenge him, saying he's not good enough, saying get Henrikh Mkhitaryan in, get Anthony Martial in. No, let's get Lingard in because he has all of the characteristics you want.

“People are viewing this period as a difficult period but he, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are shining like lights because they've got the underbelly and fight.

“What fans want is loyalty and care for the shirt and that is such an important characteristic. It shouldn't be underestimated what that has been to United since the '90s.”

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Lingard has only started nine Premier League games this season, but he has shown himself to be deserving of more minutes.

United will need him to maintain those standards as well, with a fading title challenge having shifted attention at Old Trafford towards the battle for top-four finishes.

Lingard also has international aspirations to consider, with his current form having put him firmly in the frame for a place in England’s 2018 World Cup squad.