Saturday 6 January 2018

Messi Lingard in the form of his life as hot streak continues

Lionel Jesse (or shall we just call him Messi now) Lingard continued his hot streak of form with another man of the match performance in the FA Cup win over Derby, and capped his latest individual showing with yet another stunning goal. United's results may have been indifferent over Christmas, but Lingard is in the form of his life and again proved United's match winner. When the pressure is on and inspiration needed, Lingardinho is increasingly becoming our go-to man to provide it.

He broke the deadlock against Derby with yet another exquisite strike to add to ever-lengthening repertoire of screamers, his eleventh of the season and eighth in his last ten matches. He simply does not score tap-ins and is making his own goal of the season collection. From his superb double at Arsenal, his length of the field solo finish against Watford, timely Burnley Boxing Day brace and Everton opener to this rasper: every one of Lingard's goals have not only been beautiful, but crucial. 

United's homegrown Academy talent has developed from promising youngster into a player at the peak of his powers this season. So good is his recent form, that he's now at the front of Gareth Southgate's queue to start behind Harry Kane for England at this summer's World Cup. Dele Alli is a superb player but has struggled to hit the heights this season and, on current form at least, Lingard must have put himself in contention to not only make the squad, but also to be on the team sheet as a starter in Russia for the Three Lions. 

Lingard's talent has clearly been there for all to see. Sir Alex Ferguson always rated Jesse highly, and his technical ability and football intelligence is a rare asset for a young English player. But Lingard has been something of a divisive figure for United's global and unforgiving fanbase and he always seems to be the player who attracts the most criticism. Some of his behaviour off the field has been deemed immature and unprofessional, but in truth it's nothing more than a young man enjoying life with his mates and showing his human side away from the high-pressure environment of living under the microscope at one of the world's biggest clubs. Surely there's nothing wrong with that. Many have felt that Lingard - who started out as a wide man - lacks the maturity and consistency to ever become a player on a par with the traditional 'flying winger' in the mould of a Kanchelskis or a Giggs. Having his found his niche as an all-action number ten, Lingard's made a mockery of those claims to prove his many legion of doubters wrong with every passing week. 

This club has always been one to pride ourselves on the quality of our home-grown talent, and for all the expensive imports in the side, at present it's one of our own who's doing the business to lead the Reds charge in what we hope will be a successful second half of the season. Long may it continue. 

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