The Manchester United fans have been in buoyant mood in the Transfer Tavern this week after they avoided a pride-sapping defeat against their local-rivals at the Etihad Stadium by completing a dramatic second-half turnaround.
Jose Mourinho has not commanded plenty of appreciation from the Red Devils faithful so far this season, but United’s second-half masterclass against Pep Guardiola’s champions-elect has done his popularity wonders in the aftermath of a historic Manchester derby. Whatever Mourinho said to his players at half-time clearly had the desired effect, as his side scored 3 goals in quick-succession to completely flip the match on its head.
Paul Pogba deservedly scooped the lions share of praise in the British media after United’s victory, as his quick-fire brace proved the French international has the ability to make a decisive impact in big-game situations. However, a handful of other United players were worthy of a notable mention for their performance, one of which was Jesse Lingard (valued at £22.5million by Transfermarkt) who worked diligently all afternoon.
Lingard’s development during the past 8 months has certainly been one of the success stories of United’s season so far, as his record of 13 goals and 6 assists represents his highest ever return for the club with 6 league fixtures and an FA Cup Semi-Final still to play. A section of supporters may argue that Scott McTominay deserves the most improved player award due to the level of maturity and composure he has shown when called upon by Mourinho at the heart of midfield.
McTominay’s performances should certainly be acknowledged and noted by the club at the end of the season, but there is no doubt that Lingard has been the club’s most improved performer by quite some distance. Quite simply, he has consistently played at a level which far exceeds anything he has managed to achieve in previous seasons, and if he continues in the same vein he could potentially work his way into Gareth Southgate’s starting eleven against Tunisia on the 18th June 2018.
Lingard is in competition with plenty of quality players for a starting berth in Mourinho’s starting line-up, but he has risen to the challenge this season and proven he has the ability to thrive at the highest standard of English football.
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