Our next player season review is about the player we could say improved the most out of all Manchester United players. His displays in certain periods of this season were good enough for everyone to start paying attention to him and actually realizing that his potential really is big.
Lingard was not the player everyone thought he would become at the of 22 or 23, but now at 25 he is mature and growing into a footballer Sir Alex Ferguson thought he could become one day.
What do the numbers say?
Jesse Lingard made 47 appearances this season. In Premier League he managed to start 20 matches and come on as a substitute 13 more times. He scored 13 goals this season, eight of them in the league, while also adding five assists in the same competition. It was exactly his performances in the league that made everyone realise he is just now becoming the player he was expected to become one day. His eight goals and five assists over 1823 Premier League minutes mean that he averaged 0.64 goals+assists per 90 minutes this season, which is quite good, especially for someone who was subbed on and off very often.
He also averaged 1.28 key passes per 90 minutes, which is not great. It is an average output and it few factors could be obvious here. First, Lingard is more of a dynamic player that does more with his energy, runs and movements rather than creativity in searching for centre-forwards or wingers. That is not an excuse for him, but also, there is the fact that United’s build-up was quite slow this season, which makes it harder for players to create chances for team-mates.
Was he an important player for the club?
He was much more important than ever before. In certain parts of the season, especially during December, Lingard’s form was so good that he became the key player. Of course, that kind of form did not last too long as it was a very high level of performances, but Lingard really was an important player. Mourinho found a way of how to utilize him best, even though later in the season the manager did not seem to continue doing that.
Lingard was crucial in that crazy December run and he will potentially be crucial for the way England will play at the World Cup. That only goes to prove how good his season has been and Gareth Southgate seems to be realizing the qualities the player possesses, especially in a 3-4-2-1 formation, where the two attacking midfielders have a lot of freedom.
Projection for the 2018-19 season
He will be an important part of the team. I do not see United buying an expensive attacking midfielder in a number 10 role and Mourinho really could do with some of the unpredictability Lingard can offer. He will stay at the club, even though it is hard to say how good he will be. This season he proved he is Man United level and improving on this season must be the target.