Rio Ferdinand has spoken out about Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard as he continues to impress for England at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
Lingard starred in Group G to help the country comfortably qualify for the knockout stage and played the whole 120 minutes as Gareth Southgate’s men beat Colombia on penalties – the first England team to win a shoot-out at the World Cup – to reach the quarter-finals.
The 25-year-old was called up to the squad for his first-ever major tournament following a terrific season at Man United in which he established himself as one of manager Jose Mourinho’s most trusted players.
Ex-United defender Ferdinand is one of many impressed with Lingard’s development and he has praised the star’s simple-but-effective playing style.
Speaking on BBC whilst acting as a pundit in Russia, Ferdinand said: “Jesse is not a freestyle footballer with all the skills who does step overs and loads of dribbling – but there is substance to his play and always a reason or meaning behind what he does.”
“Sir Alex Ferguson saw something in him and he has been proved right, but it took time for that to happen because, physically, Jesse was always behind. If you look at his career path, he has done things the hard way.”
Lingard has developed into a fine central attacker, rather than a winger, under Mourinho and is likely to play a big role in the boss’ plans in the 2018-19 season as well.