After bagging his seventh goal of the season in Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Everton, we ask, is Jesse Lingard one of the Premier League’s most underrated players?
Warrington born Lingard came through the famous Manchester United academy after joining the club aged seven. He was part of the extremely talented team that won the 2010/11 FA Youth Cup, alongside Paul Pogba, Michael Keane, and Ravel Morrison. While he was never the most talented in the squad, he certainly caught the eye.
After loan spells at Leicester, Birmingham, Brighton and Derby, he eventually broke into the Manchester United squad under former manager, Louis van Gaal.
An injury on his debut ruined the whole of his first season, but he has come back stronger, and has made 25 Premier League appearances in each of the last two seasons. However, it hasn’t been until this season that the 25-year-old has really shown his qualities.
Lingard was put into the starting lineup to replace the out-of-form Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and has grabbed his opportunity with both hands. He has gone on to make 18 league appearances this season, including nine starts and nine substitute appearances, where he has scored seven goals and provided four assists.
‘Not United quality’
As a long term season ticket holder and regular twitter user, over recent years I have both heard and read the various comments about Lingard, which can be summed up quite simply to the opinion that ‘Jesse Lingard is not Manchester United quality’ – an opinion with which I’ve never really agreed with.
While I can admit I never saw him developing into a future Balon d’Or winner, I’ve always wanted to see him ‘make it’, and always thought that he could be a very useful squad player.
However, his recent performances and goalscoring exploits have taken me by surprise and I feel that they may have gone unnoticed by the vast majority of football fans, including followers of Manchester United.
How does he compare with the Premier League’s best?
While the whole country has been revelling at the goalscoring form of Harry Kane and Mo Salah (and quite rightly so) or the brilliance of Man City’s David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne, Lingard’s achievements have gone relatively under the radar.
When combining his seven goals and his four assists in the Premier League this season, it means that Lingard has actually been involved in a Manchester United goal every 85 minutes! A pretty impressive return!
I decided to compare how those numbers stack up against some of the Leagues most raved about stars, and the results were surprising.
|Player||Goals||Assists||Mins per goal involvement|
|Kevin de Bruyne||6||9||120|
While I am not trying to suggest that Jesse Lingard is the fourth best player in the Premier League, or better than the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli or Eden Hazard, but the stats do show that he is far more valuable to both Manchester United and hopefully England than some may give him credit for.
Maybe, he is the most underrated player in the Premier League?