Manchester United legend Paul Scholes reckons Jesse Lingard will leave Old Trafford during the summer transfer window.
The England international scored for a second consecutive game as United booked their place in the Europa League quarter-finals by beating LASK 7-1 on aggregate. Last night’s match at Old Trafford finished 2-1, with Anthony Martial coming on from the bench to score a winner.
However, Lingard was replaced after an hour by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Scholes had his say after the match hinting it was a sign the midfielder could leave the club in the near future.
“I think when he’s playing well, he has something to offer. He hasn’t been good enough lately. Is he a starting player if you’re going to go on and win the league and bigger trophies? I’m not sure he is,” Scholes told BT Sport.
“Tonight was a game where you think it’s a chance for him to play 90 minutes, along with Fred, but when Ole took him off after an hour I thought that this was a sign that he is probably thinking of moving him on.
“I might be totally wrong with that but that was the feeling I’ve got. When you have fringe players and you’ve got to get them games, tonight was the perfect opportunity for 90 minutes.
“He scored a goal as well, his confidence might have grown. I don’t think he was particularly great but to bring him off after an hour, I think that was a little sign and possibly with Fred as well, he might be thinking the same situation and looking to offload the pair of them.
“I know what Jesse is capable of, I grew up with him, watching him, playing with him and coaching him in the reserve team and he’s capable of a lot better than what he is showing. I just think at United now he’s become a squad player.
“28 in December, he should be at the peak of his career. Does he want to be playing 10, 15, possibly 20 games a season at this age? I don’t think so. I think he still has ambitions to get into the England squad and he needs to find some form for that.
“Is he going to get that chance? I don’t think so at United unless there’s a lot of injuries and a lot of people out. I don’t see him getting a lot of games unless he moves to a club, say a mid-table team like Everton, West Ham.
“Jesse is a good lad, there’s a lot of ability in there. He just needs a run of games to do it and I don’t think he’ll get that at United.”
“Lately he hasn’t been good enough, really.”
“When Ole took him off after an hour, I thought it’s a sign he might be moving him on.”
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A move for Lingard would be best for both parties. He won’t get the games he needs at United and could go on to be a star in a mid-table side in the Premier League.
I don’t think there will be a shortage of interest when it comes to Lingard and I’d give him more credit for his performance last night than Scholes, who was also fair in his assessment because the slightly out-of-favour midfielder has a lot of work to do to get to where he wants in the game.