Paul Scholes has criticised Manchester United’s treatment of Jesse Lingard, claiming United’s failure to give the 21-year-old a chance with the first team epitomises everything that is wrong with Premier League clubs.
Last year on the pre-season tour, Lingard, Zaha and Januzaj were the stand-out performers but the latter was the only player who really got a chance with the first-team under David Moyes.
The progression path for home-grown talent is a topic that often causes debate and according to Scholes, the Premier League is “riddled” with average foreign players who limit the opportunities for home-grown players at the highest level.
“Let’s take the example of Jesse Lingard. He’s a 21-year-old, Warrington-born Manchester United player who was farmed out on loan to Brighton,” Scholes said in his Paddy Power column.
“Last season at United, Lingard went on the pre-season tour, scored goals, and looked really sharp. At that time he was a better prospect, in my mind, than Adnan Januzaj, but he didn’t get the chance.
“I’m not questioning the talent of Januzaj, but Lingard, if given the opportunity, could have done well in the first team. With his ability, Lingard deserved to challenge Shinji Kagawa for a place.”
Lingard started the 2013/14 season at Birmingham City where he played 13 matches and scored six in an impressive loan spell. Later that year with Brighton, he scored four goals in 15 appearances.
For Lingard, a pre-season similar to last years could see him force his way into Louis van Gaal‘s first team squad for 2014/15 and if he enjoys a season half as decent as Januzaj’s debut season, United fans are in for a treat.