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'Lingard should be playing 40-45 games a season' - Man Utd fringe star should have left, maintains Neville

11:40 BST 20/09/2021
Jesse Lingard Cristiano Ronaldo Bruno Fernandes Manchester United 2021-22
The Red Devils legend has reiterated his surprise at seeing the England international remain at Old Trafford during the summer transfer window

Jesse Lingard has been told he "should be playing 40-45 games a season", with Manchester United legend Gary Neville doubling down on his claim that the England international "should've left" Old Trafford over the summer.

No deal was done in the last window, despite West Ham being interested in landing their former loanee on a permanent basis, and the talented 28-year-old now faces fierce competition for places in the Red Devils' ranks.

He has been getting opportunities this season, with a match-winning effort against the Hammers last time out coming on the back of a costly Champions League mistake in defeat to Young Boys, but Neville believes a creative playmaker is deserving of a more regular role somewhere.

What has been said?

Neville told Sky Sports: "I still maintain he should've left but he will have his moments. I was happy to see how he bounced back after what happened in Europe in midweek.

"To bounce back and score the winner is a fantastic moment for him. He's got good character, he's a very good player and I feel he should be playing 40-45 games a season.

"He won't get that at United in terms of 90-minute starts but he's one of those players that I do feel United will benefit from having. I just thought for Jesse himself, he should've left. United could be a better team with someone like Lingard in it."

What is Lingard's stance?

Lingard appears to have no regrets at passing up another opportunity to head through the exits, with his sights locked on bringing a five-year wait for major silverware to a close in 2021-22.

With his late strike against West Ham seeing United to a 2-1 victory and 13 points from five Premier League games, Lingard told MUTV of ambition on the red half of Manchester: "You’ve got to always start well and make a statement to the rest of the teams and that’s what we’ve been doing.

"The main aim is to obviously win a trophy this season and I think we’ve got the squad depth to do that. The talent, everyone’s hungry to play and everyone’s working hard in training to get in that matchday squad.

"Everyone’s always ready to play, so the subs have got to be ready to make a difference.

"They’re always tough games against West Ham and to play them back to back is a little bit different, but we’ll go into that game full of confidence."

He added on his muted celebration against the Hammers, who helped to get his career back on track last season: "They supported me in the loan spell and gave me a great reception, so it was only right to pay them back."

Who else secured the points against West Ham?

While Lingard's goal proved to be the difference at the London Stadium, there were many more twists to an intriguing plot.

West Ham had taken the lead on home soil through Said Benrahma, only to see the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo peg them back.

Lingard's telling contribution came in the 89th minute, but there was still time after that for Luke Shaw to concede a penalty, Mark Noble to be introduced off the bench to take a spot-kick and David de Gea to save it as a thrilling contest was closed out.

On seeing the Spain international goalkeeper save his first penalty in 41 attempts, Lingard said: "David’s always been a great penalty stopper and we had confidence in him and we trusted him to make the save, which he did.

"There’s been a real togetherness and everyone’s playing for each other; we’re playing to win games and playing for our fans and staff, so everyone’s ready to play."

United will be back in action on Wednesday when facing West Ham again in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

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