Southgate named Lingard in his 23-man squad for the summer tournament in Russia, meaning he will represent England at a major tournament for the first time.
The 25-year-old’s inclusion comes after a terrific season at Man United, where he scored 13 and assisted seven goals while cruising up Jose Mourinho‘s pecking order.
Lingard, fulfilling the late bloomer status given to him by Sir Alex Ferguson, kept out positional rivals Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial for most of the season as he thrived as a winger and in the ‘no 10 role’.
He seems to have impressed England manager Southgate as well, who is also entering his first major tournament as a manager, who heavily endorsed Lingard to the media:
“Jesse is fantastic at recognising space and working away from the ball to provide a great link between midfield and attack, intelligent, and every time he’s come into games or started for us, he’s been excellent.
“He’s had a super season this year. There’s been a question mark over whether he can convert what we see from his finishing in training into matches but this year he’s done that, so it’s a good moment for him.”
It will be interesting to see where Lingard fits in Southgate’s expected three-at-the-back system, but is being tipped to start over Tottenham Hotspur star Dele Alli if he goes with one man behind two strikers.
His versatility in the attack will help him, and he could start on the wing ahead of club team-mate and best friend Rashford, but wherever it is he’ll be looking to make an impact on the grandest stage of them all.