England U21 boss Gareth Southgate has revealed that he is surprised Jesse Lingard has stayed at Manchester United.
Lingard has impressed in recent weeks after being handed a chance in the Man United first-team by Louis van Gaal.
The 22-year-old scored his first senior goal for the club in the 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion last weekend.
Lingard has been something of a late bloomer and Southgate admitted that he thought the winger might have left Old Trafford.
“At the club, I remember him being in the U18s and speaking to Brian McClair about him because he was a small one and they stuck with him. So they’ve been very good as a club in academy terms of sticking with those late developers and I still think there’s more to come,” Southgate said.
“We’ve had a little glimpse, and I have every confidence he can go on and do even more. It was a great shame that he got injured in the first game of last season but he was a player we had a great belief in and we were chuffed when he was available for the summer.
“Under pressure, he performed really well and that’s key for big clubs. He lives for football really, loves to train and loves to play.
“I’m really pleased to see him getting his chance now and I was amazed that they weren’t inundated with more bids to prise him away in the summer, especially having played as well as he did in the Euros.”
Lingard could have easily left United but he chose to stick at the club and put the hard work in. He is now reaping the rewards, and if he develops some consistency, there is no reason why he can’t be an important player for United in years to come.