Sky Sports pundit Tony Cottee has admitted he is surprised that Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard received a call-up to the England squad for the friendly against France on Tuesday.
Lingard was called up following injuries to Michael Carrick and Jamie Vardy.
The 22-year-old has only just broke into the Man United first-team and hasn’t played too many minutes in the Premier League compared to the likes of Leicester City’s Marc Albrighton and Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha.
Cottee insisted the decision to call-up Lingard could prove to be a mistake.
“I must admit I was surprised. He is a promising young player, he has been out on loan with quite a few clubs, and he has got into the United team for the last couple of games,” Cottee said.
“But he has only played 169 minutes this year. If I was Wilfried Zaha or particularly Marc Albrighton, who has been outstanding for Leicester, I would be saying, ‘What have I got to do to get in this England squad?’ You would not like to think it is the fact that he plays for Manchester United that means he gets preference over a player like Wilfried, like Marc, who play for so-called lesser clubs.
“It should be based on performances on the pitch and what you are achieving for your club, it does not matter which team you play for. If you are doing the business, you should get promoted to the England squad. I just think it is not the right decision. I am all for youngsters but I would rather see him go and play 90 minutes in the U21s than go and sit on the bench, maybe come on for a cap. He might end up a one-cap wonder.
“I would like to have seen one of the other guys given a chance. What about Jason Puncheon, Scott Dann at Crystal Palace? Players that are in-form, doing really well for their clubs, [are] not getting chosen.”
Louis van Gaal also argued earlier this month that Lingard wasn’t ready for a senior call-up and it’s hard to disagree with him. Lingard, while a hugely promising talent, should have been made to prove himself fully at United first before making the step up to international football.