Manchester United are preparing a new four-year contract for winger Jesse Lingard.
Lingard has become an important player for United over the past year. He came through the club’s academy, and made his breakthrough in Louis van Gaal’s first Premier League game as Manchester United manager. However, he sustained an injury in that game, and didn’t appear for the club for the rest of the season.
In van Gaal’s second season at the club, which ultimately proved to be his last, Lingard was given another chance to prove himself, which he took with both hands, establishing himself as a first-team regular.
The highlight of his season came in the FA Cup Final against Crystal Palace, where he scored a sweetly struck first time volley in the second half of extra time to hand United their first FA Cup in twelve years.
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Doubts emerged at the start of the season regarding Lingard’s place at the club, as Louis van Gaal was sacked and Jose Mourinho was appointed manager.
However, Lingard made it into Mourinho’s first official squad in United’s 2-1 win over Leicester City in the Community Shield match at the Wembley Stadium. He showed the manager a glimpse of his talent when he scored a brilliant solo goal after a mazy dribble past Leicester’s defence.
Unfortunately, he sustained a foot injury in that game, and hadn’t featured since until Mourinho decided to start him in the 2-1 derby defeat to Manchester City. Lingard was anonymous for most of the time he was on the pitch, and his first touch deserted him, leading to him being hooked at half-time for Marcus Rashford.
“We started the game with players below the normal level. We need to be sharp in the way we think, the way we play. We had a few players below that level and we were made to pay,” Mourinho said after the game.
“The second half was completely different. We were in control, much more dangerous.”
However, despite his poor showing on his comeback appearance, his potential is undeniable, and the club look set to reward him with a new four-year contract that would keep him at the club till 2020.