The news was met with some considerable fury from supporters, with some insisting that Lingard’s recent performances didn’t merit such an award.
And Neville, in response, was quick to leap to the Englishman’s defence.
Two separate points.
1.Jose gave him the contract? Have a go at him?
2. Homegrown lad being selected for the first team. Get behind him! https://t.co/2yRKsAjXYa
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 7, 2017
I wish I could tell you that this exercise of strangers berating a player for earning astronomical sums of money was new. I wish I could tell you that. But I’m afraid that Lingard now figures in a long, endlessly growing list of players who received a new contract and incited a riot on social media as a result.
The Englishman is perfect for this sort of role: exuberant, flashy, sometimes cocky, and nothing like Roy Keane, your Dad is saying. “He was a proper player; wouldn’t have stood for any of this dabbing nonsense.”
There will always be a segment of supporters who will – instead of praising one of their homegrown talents for living their dream – furiously froth at the sight of a ‘flashy’ player receiving a big pay check. Their anger, I suspect, doesn’t really lie with Lingard specifically, but instead with the vast sums of money pervading – and indeed radically changing the nature of – the beautiful game.