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Arsenal legend questions Jesse Lingard for declaring fit against Liverpool

Jesse Lingard replaced Juan Mata in the 25th minute against Liverpool but limped off the pitch 18 minutes later after straining his hamstring.

It is not yet known if Lingard pulled the same hamstring that forced him off against Paris Saint-Germain two weeks ago, and former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has criticised the England international for declaring himself ready to face the Scousers.

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“Sometimes, it is braver to admit you are not fit than to play through the pain,” Keown wrote in his Daily Mail column. “Jesse Lingard lasted just 18 minutes off the bench against Liverpool before suffering a recurrence of the hamstring injury he had picked up against Paris Saint-Germain 12 days earlier.

“I know how desperate he would have been to play in such a huge game. And with Anthony Martial out, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have wanted him available .

 “Lingard may have come through training unscathed but you cannot replicate the intensity of a high-stakes game. I admire his desire but any hopes Manchester United had of winning the game faded when Solskjaer had to make three substitutions in the first-half.

 “At Old Trafford, taking off Lingard meant Marcus Rashford had to play 90 minutes despite not looking 100 per cent. I hope he has not aggravated any injury.

“It would have been a tough call for Solskjaer to leave out Lingard — especially if he had said he was fit. But did the United manager put too much trust in his player?

“Sunday can be put down to the inexperience of both player and manager. This will have been a learning curve and they will not make the same mistake again.” 

Though surely the bigger problem here comes with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deciding to bring Lingard during his recovery from a recent knock. And, you can be sure the caretaker boss got the all-clear before naming the attacker on his bench for the Premier League meeting.

That was Solskjaer’s one mistake against Liverpool. Knowing Lingard plays with an incredible work ethic, constantly pressing or finding space to receive the ball, it was evident that he wasn’t going to suddenly change his game.

Alexis Sanchez was also available on the bench and it was the Chilean who replaced Lingard before half-time.

United had more chances than Liverpool, who managed just one shot on target, but we’ll take the point considering our injury situation.

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