Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has reiterated the importance of young players going out on loan to gain first-team experience.
The Reds travel to the Amex Stadium on Friday to face Brighton & Hove Albion in the penultimate away game of the Premier League season, knowing a win would be a giant stride towards securing second place.
One player who will be looking forward to a return to the south coast is Jesse Lingard, who scored four goals in 17 appearances for Brighton in 2013/14 when the Seagulls were in the Championship.
Speaking to MUTV’s Helen Evans ahead of the game, the boss gave his thoughts on the loan system and cited Lingard as a perfect example of how the experience can provide a long-term benefit.
“For me, the loan is to play,” Mourinho said.
“If they go out on loan and don’t play, it’s better to stay at the parent club, so for me, that’s the point and objective of a loan. I don’t believe in the loan just to do, as some people used to say, as a man outside the parent club, I believe the loan is to play and have more minutes than you have in the club.
“Sometimes the loan club choice is the wrong one because sometimes players, parents, agents want a more fashionable loan – a club with a different name, a club in the Premier League, a club in an amazing league, then they go there and play even less than in the parent club.
“So sometimes it’s better to go a level down and be humble in their choice, but get the objective of playing football. I think Jesse’s loans were Brighton, Birmingham and Derby County, so all those loans were to go and play football.
“He then came back and played a little bit with Mr van Gaal and then a lot with me and now he’s a stable Manchester United player.”
Since making his first-team debut for United in August 2014, Lingard has established himself as a key player for the Reds, particularly under Mourinho in the last two seasons.
He has enjoyed his best goalscoring campaign of his career to date, netting 13 goals and registering seven assists in 45 appearances in all competitions so far in 2017/18.
The no.14 will be itching to make an impression on his return to the Amex this evening, as the Reds close in on sealing the runners-up spot in the Premier League.
MUTV will show exclusive live build-up to Brighton v United on the Match Day show from 18:00 BST on Friday.