Jesse Lingard's coming of age: Mourinho's faith has paid off
Jesse Lingard is the name on the lips of most Manchester United fans at the moment. The England international midfielder has been absolutely brilliant in recent weeks, with his brace on Boxing Day taking his Premier League goals tally to 6 this season.
The tally of 6 goals is one more than his total for the previous 2 seasons combined and it is all the more impressive when you consider the fact that his first Premier League goal of the season came a month ago away against Watford.
His recent displays for Manchester United have gone a long way in silencing his critics having long been accused of not having what it took to play for the club.
Ever since his emergence 2 seasons ago under Louis van Gaal, Lingard has been on the periphery of the Manchester United squad but has always shown great heart and determination when called upon. His quality was rarely seen but when it surfaced, it was always something special, like his FA Cup winning strike against Crystal Palace at Wembley as well as his wonderful solo goal in the 2016 Community Shield win against Leicester City also at Wembley.
So many of the club’s fans would have been forgiven for not expecting too much of the same when he popped up with another magnificent solo goal in his side’s 4-2 victory at Vicarage Road, but it's admirable how he has kicked on from there.
The 25-year old has been producing performances that have been previously unseen from him especially in front of goal and he has now contributed 6 of the last 12 goals scored by Manchester United in the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho’s utilisation of the diminutive midfielder must also be applauded, as he has taken advantage of the player’s endeavour and tireless running to telling effect. Given Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s drastic and unexpected loss of form, Lingard has stepped up and made the No. 10 position his own.
Jesse Lingard is by no means as creative as the Armenian but he more than makes up for it with his willingness to never stop running and closing down defenders. This, along with the pace and power provided by the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Marcos Rashford and Anthony Martial, occupies defenders which sees Lingard with time and space in goal scoring areas, as his goals this month as shown.
Part of the 2010-11 FA Youth Cup winning team alongside Paul Pogba, the life-long Manchester United fan is finally delivering on the promise of his teenage years and many of the club's fans around the world will be hoping he is able to continue in this vein.