Jesse Lingard can soar for Manchester United - if only he is allowed

Lingard can soar for United - if only he is allowed

05/12/2017 at 12:56Updated 05/12/2017 at 13:02

Paul Parker was not surprised by Jesse Lingard's star turn against Arsenal, and wants to see Manchester United bring more out of the midfielder.

Jesse Lingard is still underrated as a player but part of the reason is that he hasn't been allowed to show just how good he is. All too often he hasn't been playing for Manchester United in the manner that suits him. He was afforded that luxury against Arsenal, and just look at the result.

I remember watching Jesse when he was a youth player at United - he was a different player to the one we have seen in recent times when generally he has been on the pitch to destroy. Against Arsenal he was there to create, though, and that suits him.

That is what Jesse is all about, rather than being a player whose role is to defend. His strengths are his athleticism and his ability on the ball. When he gets in the right situations he is quite clinical as well. You can ask him to do a defensive job, but you don't want to be taking the focus away from what he is really born to do: creating and scoring goals.

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The system with a back three suits him, as it gives him a central role in behind one or two strikers, but he can also thrive in a team with a back four, given the right guidance. He is a player who also needs an arm round the shoulder and some reassurance. He needs faith to be shown in him.

Lots of people were questioning why he was in the England squad when he wasn't playing regularly for Manchester United. When he does play for United, people sometimes wonder what it is that he does. But then people see what he is capable of in games like Saturday - what he can do in the right set-up, when he is confident and allowed to do what he is good at - you can see why he is a Manchester United and England player.

He needs to be playing more regularly, though. It's the same with any player: they need to feel valued and wanted. Jesse has definitely got the ability - he just needs to be told that he can use it and play his natural game. You saw the results of that at Emirates Stadium.

It's so hard to say whether he will now go on to keep his place ahead of players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The competition for places is fierce at United and different matches require different solutions. I couldn't say for certain whether he will even start against Manchester City at the weekend. And that's one of the problems with Jesse: however well he has done, he hasn't been able to nail down that regular starting role. He never knows if he is going to be in that starting XI.

Jesse Lingard

Jesse LingardGetty Images

Lingard could be a big player for England, too. Translating club form into the international arena isn't always easy - it's a very different kind of football. But he has the ability and the energy to be a big player for England. He just needs a chance to show what he can do, and to play regularly for United. That will help him cement a place in Gareth Southgate's plans.

He is a player who divides opinion and a personality who divides opinion too. He is active on social media, likes a dance celebration. I can understand why some people don't warm to him. Social media cannot be avoided these days. Maybe the problem is that he isn't a regular player at this stage and some people feel he hasn't earned the right to be so exuberant. Paul Pogba has a similar profile on social media but maybe it doesn't grate as much as he is a world star.

I think some players practice celebrations and dances now in anticipation of scoring. Kids are doing it on Sunday mornings when they play. It happens all through the divisions and we just have to live with that. It's how things work now. The game changes and you have to change with it. There's no point getting worked up about it.

Let's focus on what he can do on the pitch. As he showed against Arsenal, that is enough of a talking point.