Michael Carrick explains why Jesse Lingard is a unique attacking threat

by Leo Nieboer

Michael Carrick has hailed Jesse Lingard‘s excellent movement off the ball ahead of England’s last 16 tie with Colombia.

The 25-year-old has quickly become a favourite under Jose Mourinho for his sharp, piercing runs into dangerous areas in the No.10 role over the 2017/18 season.

He produced a number of promising moments against Tunisia and was England’s best player going forward in the 6-1 win over Panama.

Speaking ahead of the crunch tie in Moscow, Carrick made note of how effective Lingard can be off the ball.

“I think his movement – he moves off the ball very well,” he said. “It’s something that sounds quite simple, but it’s difficult to defend against.”

“He senses where the space is and how to use it. I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s a dribbler with skills and tricks but he’s dynamic.

“How he plays, he is unique in some ways. You don’t see so much of that in the game as everyone wants to get on the ball and do something on the ball. Off the ball, he’s very effective.”

Lingard’s capacity to read a game and create gaps in defences has propelled him to the forefront of Southgate’s team, and for good reason.

Creating avenues down the centre through which to attack is fundamental to Southgate’s three-at-the-back system and Lingard, with his darting pace and shrewd understanding of finding space in the final third, is better at doing this than most. He is a strictly modern footballer in the sense that his best work, in fact, comes off the ball.

England will need that against Colombia. They will need Lingard. If he can unsettle the back four early on, working closely with Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli, chances will fall England’s way.

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