Stan Collymore has insisted that Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard is in the same bracket as Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne ahead of Sunday’s clash between the sides.
Lingard is in the best form of his career, scoring a stunning individual goal to secure Man United’s 4-2 win against Watford before scoring twice and playing fantastically in the Reds’ 3-1 win away against Arsenal.
He was rested for Tuesday night’s 2-1 victory against CSKA Moscow, with manager Jose Mourinho keeping one eye on Sunday’s Manchester derby, a vital game in the context of the title race.
Collymore believes Lingard should be considered on an equal pedestal to De Bruyne ahead of the game at Old Trafford.
“Never did I think I’d put Jesse Lingard in the same bracket as Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane,” Collymore admitted.
“But if De Bruyne and Sane are the men most likely to make the difference for Manchester City this afternoon, then Lingard can be that man for Manchester United.”
Collymore emphasised not only Lingard’s recently quality in his column for The Mirror, but also the Englishman’s role as a Warrington-born United fan who has come through the club’s academy system.
“No-one should underestimate the impact a local lad can have in a derby,” he wrote.
“They can make you sink or swim.”
Lingard will be crucial on Sunday. His work ethic, attitude and confidence from recent excellent performances could prove a huge factor.
Collymore isn’t suggesting he has the same quality as De Bruyne, and that’s correct, but that his importance to Sunday’s game could be equal. That’s a sensible assumption to make, particularly in the absence of Paul Pogba for United who is suspended after a red card against Arsenal last weekend.