Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard believes that he is gradually getting closer to finding his best form.
Speaking to The Mirror, the 26-year-old England international said he is targeting a return to the Three Lions squad, having been omitted by Gareth Southgate ever since the UEFA Nations League finals in June, and he thinks he is on course to getting back to his best.
Lingard told The Mirror: “There’s always that hunger and fight for positions and obviously it goes down to form and where you’re at club wise so, for me, it’s about getting back to the Jesse that everyone knows and the Jesse Lingard that I know.”
He added: “I’m a player who likes to score goals, make assists and, for me, I need to get back to that, back to my best and I feel I’m slowly but surely getting back there.”
Lingard captained Manchester United for the first time in Thursday’s Europa League defeat to Astana and scored in that game, registering his first goal in 10 months since netting against Arsenal in the FA Cup.
His return for this season is a rather mediocre one goal and one assist in 17 appearances and 825 minutes of football (via TransferMarkt), having scored five goals and set up four in 2,201 minutes last term, when he averaged a goal every 440.2 minutes and an assist per 550.25 minutes.
In the previous campaign, the England winger scored 13 times and set up seven more in 2,652 minutes of game-time (as per TransferMarkt), an average of one goal per 204 minutes and an assist every 378.86 minutes.
Lingard has averaged just 19.1 passes per game in the Premier League this season, a substantial decrease on his 28.2 match average from the previous two campaigns, although he has improved on his key passes per game average (1.1 from 0.6) and passing accuracy (87.4% from 85.7%) from last term. [via WhoScored]
The 26-year-old was heavily criticised by former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince last season over his lack of end product (as per Paddy Power), while also drawing scorn from quite a few of the club’s supporters.
Lingard’s contribution of six shots against Astana, his highest in any game so far this term, and two in last week’s draw at Sheffield United after coming on as a half-time substitute might suggest that he is having more of an impact in recent games than earlier in the season.
However, his goal contributions and passing statistics would indicate that he is still a long way off his best form – although it’s worth noting that he went on a run of four goals in three weeks at a similar stage last term having not previously scored in the season (as per TransferMarkt), so his goal in Kazakhstan could be the kick-start that his 2019/20 season needs.
Manchester United fans, are you hopeful that Lingard can rediscover his form of the last couple of seasons after a slow start to the campaign? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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