Paul Scholes: Gareth Southgate values Jesse Lingard more than Jose Mourinho

by Leo Nieboer

Paul Scholes has bizarrely claimed that Jesse Lingard has a better relationship with England boss Gareth Southgate than Jose Mourinho.

The 25-year-old plays a key role in Southgate’s 3-5-2 system and netted his first World Cup goal during last weekend’s 6-1 win over Panama.

His sprightly form comes off the back of a hugely successful season under Mourinho during which he made 48 appearances and claimed 13 goals – his best tally since breaking into the first team.

But Scholes, speaking earlier this week, noted that Southgate treated Lingard much better than Mourinho.

“Jesse is a great player. I worked a lot with Jesse,” he said. “He was a late developer and the coaches have to realise that.”

“Warren Joyce, brilliant coach at the Under-23s, he realised Jesse would need more time.

“It took me ages. I was always the last out of our group to get a game just because people develop at different times.

“When things aren’t going well at Manchester United he’s the first man taken off, but with England I think Gareth really believes in him and gives him confidence. Possibly, the manager for England has a little bit more belief in him than his club manager.

“He’s really flourishing and thriving in that atmosphere.”

This feels like a painfully predictable headline from Scholes. Many pundits have made note of Mourinho’s overly harsh, counterproductive treatment of players over the 2017/18 season, from Anthony Martial to Luke Shaw to Eric Bailly, and there is weight behind these claims.

But to make them about a player who, under Mourinho, has enjoyed his best ever season in terms of appearances and goals only serves to demean the argument itself. These claims are becoming more of an ad hominem attack on the Portuguese rather than an actual statement about reality.

Mourinho’s recent quotes regarding Lingard suggest they in fact have a very strong relationship at United.

“He is the funny one that doesn’t disturb the class,” he said. “He is the funny one that the teacher isn’t upset with.”

“He is the one that makes things work and in the right moment he is positive and he makes everyone in the class laugh.

“He creates a good atmosphere and that is the atmosphere that we always want in our class, because I was also a school teacher and I know what it means.

“We like the funny person that doesn’t disturb and makes everyone happier.”

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