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Jesse Lingard Is Fulfilling Alex Ferguson's Unusual Prediction For Him

Jesse Lingard Is Fulfilling Alex Ferguson's Unusual Prediction For Him
Arthur James O'Dea
By Arthur James O'Dea
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No one would dare suggest Alex Ferguson was infallible in his judgement of players. Even with seemingly ready-made signings like Juan Sebastian Veron, reality occasionally overran the ideal.

With home-grown talents, one can only imagine the difficulties of identifying a player who can realistically make the breakthrough are intensified further still.

Not so with Jesse Lingard it would seem.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News six years ago, as he was approaching the end of his tenure in charge of United, Ferguson identified the 19-year old Lingard as one who was going to become "some player."

Yet to have made an appearance for the first-team, Lingard could have been considered relatively old to be singled out for what he could become. Marcus Rashford, by contrast, had made almost 100 appearances for United at 19; all the while collecting a number of international caps also.

In Ferguson's opinion however, Lingard's development was never going to trail along this wunderkind arc:

He is 19, came through our youth system and is built like Jean Tigana was for France. But [Tigana] never got into the limelight there until he was about 24, and I think that will be the same with Lingard.


Tigana, formerly the manager of Fulham for a brief spell 15 years ago, played in a French midfield of which Michel Platini was the outstanding talent.

Like Lingard, the former Bordeaux and Marseille player knows what it is like to be overshadowed by more exciting talents.

A member of the 2011 FA Youth Cup winning side with United, teammates like Paul Pogba, Ravel Morrison and Micheal Keane appeared the standout players of another young United generation.


Yet, having turned 25 last month, Lingard is arguably living up to Ferguson's prophecy.

An ever-present figure in Jose Mourinho's team this season, his seven goals across the festive period were of immense importance to United as their overall form dipped somewhat.

Perhaps what is most remarkable however is the manner of the goals Lingard is scoring. With a range of outstanding strikes from distance, and clever positioning within the box at times, he is hitting a vein of form that many may have assumed would halt sooner than it has.


See Also: Andy Robertson Heralded As Liverpool's Unsung Hero


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