Jesse Lingard insists he is NOT worried about his lack of game time at Manchester United and believes he can still make England’s World Cup squad as a player at Old Trafford
- Jesse Lingard has made the England squad despite his game time at Man United
- The midfielder is yet to start a Premier League game for the Red Devils this term
- Lingard believes he can still make next year’s World Cup squad as a United star
- The United man has defended the form of club and England pal Jadon Sancho
Jesse Lingard is not panicking about his limited playing time and insists he can still make the World Cup squad as a Manchester United player.
Gareth Southgate has always been a huge admirer of the midfielder but omitted him from his European Championship plans at the last minute. Lingard only started playing regularly last season after joining West Ham on loan in January and things would have been different had he played a full campaign.
West Ham failed in a bid to sign him permanently and his opportunities have been limited since returning to Old Trafford. His sole start was against West Ham in the Carabao Cup, with five additional substitute appearances.
England’s Jesse Lingard is not worried about his lack of game time at Manchester United
The United midfielder (second right) is yet to start a Premier League game for the Red Devils
It is a contrast to his England situation — he started against Andorra last month and scored twice in the 4-0 home win.
Yet Southgate has made it clear that to be in the England team, no matter how highly individuals are regarded, players need regular starts. Lingard has taken the message on board but insists there is no need to consider a move, with the World Cup still 13 months away.
‘The World Cup is a long way away but you need regular football,’ said Lingard. ‘I was so close to going to the Euros — it’s a big factor. If you’re playing over 20, 25 games, you’re knocking on the door. I think it plays a big part in that.
‘I’m not doing any harm at the moment if I keep performing well. You never know what might happen, I keep confident in myself and when I get time on the pitch, I’ve got to carry on doing what I’m doing.
Lingard scored twice for England versus Andorra last month, who his country play on Saturday
‘Of course, I want to be playing and helping the team but I’ve not done any harm (to my England chances). With whatever minutes I get, I do my best. That’s the only thing I’m concentrating on.’
Lingard was always going to be in this squad for the qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary but the same could not be said for Jadon Sancho, whom Southgate thought about leaving out after a tough start to life in Manchester.
‘We all know Jadon’s world class,’ Lingard stressed. ‘He’s one of the best young talents in the world. At a big club like Manchester United, it is always going to be pressure.
Lingard (right) also defended the form of United and England team-mate Jadon Sancho (left)
‘But Jadon is a professional and he’s slowly adapting. There have been glimpses of that in the previous games that he’s played. We can see that in training week in, week out. There’s no doubt he’ll succeed, I have full confidence in that.’
It is five years since Lingard won his first cap in what was Southgate’s first game in charge — a 2-0 win over Malta at Wembley. England have since made huge strides but the idea that they have reached their ceiling is not something the squad will consider.
‘We knew it would take a little bit of time but we were always building up to the World Cup,’ said Lingard. ‘Russia was just a start. Making the Euros final was another huge step. But we want to be No 1 in the world and win trophies. With the progression so far, we’re on track for that.’