Gary Neville has cast serious doubts over the chances of Jesse Lingard carving out a future for himself at Manchester United, despite his impressive form on loan at West Ham.
Lingard joined the Hammers on loan in January and has recapturted his best form in some style. He scored an incredible solo goal to put West Ham in early control at Wolves. Further goals from Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen put West Ham 3-0 up – but it was a nervy finish as Wolves fought back.
David Moyes was clearly a very relieved man at full-time as the Hammers clung on to go fourth.
The catalyst for the win was once again Lingard. He now has six goals and three assists from eight appearances for West Ham.
His form has seen talk arise that he could engineer a route back into the Manchester United first team. To that end, Lingard himself is reported to have informed United of two demands if he’s to return.
However, Neville reckons Lingard has little chance of playing regular football at Old Trafford. Indeed, he says he needs to join the Hammers permanently if he’s to continue enjoying his football.
After the win at Wolves, Neville was asked if he would have Lingard back.
“It depends on what grounds,” Neville told Sky Sports. “If Jesse wants to play, which he does want to play, you can see, then he’s going to need to leave.
“Because he’s not going to play every single week I suspect in a Manchester United team that’s trying to get to second or first in the league.
“But if he’s willing to go back there and compete and be a player like that, he could. Daniel James has come in for the last few weeks and he’s out of the team again. Does he want to be that type of player who’s a bit in and out?
“There’s no doubt he can play for Manchester United but he’d have to be in that role.”
United did not allow the Hammers to secure an option to buy as part of his loan arrangement. However, a figure of around £15m has been suggested were the 28-year-old to make the move permanent.
Lingard hails great Hammers win
The outstanding Lingard spoke himself about West Ham’s 3-2 triumph: “It was a tough game. We had to work hard. We kept at it. I thought it would be another Arsenal, conceding just before half-time. But the lads kept their focus. We come out second half a bit better. It was about managing the game.”
On his goal, he added: “It was two versus two and we work on that in training, Michail took a man away with his run. There is always room for improvement. It is a great victory and we take the positives.”
As for his stunning return to form since his loan switch to Old Trafford, Lingard admitted: “It is consistency. I have not played much in the last two years so to play week in week out is good. The team help me.”
The Hammers moved back into the top four with the win, and Lingard believes they can stay there: “It is about maintaining and keeping focus. We have tough fixtures but the lads are ready.”