Jesse Lingard has been voted Manchester United's Player of the Month by supporters after enjoying a sensational December.
For the first time this season, the winner of the fans' accolade didn't pick up a Man of the Match award – which is also voted for by fans on social media when the Reds pick up three points.
In claiming the final star man award of 2017, Lingard follows in the footsteps of Ashley Young (November), Anthony Martial (September and October) and Paul Pogba (August). It's his second award of the season after his superb solo goal against Watford was crowned November's Goal of the Month.
Goals: Arsenal 1 United 3Video
Goals: United 2 Burnley 2Video
WHY DID HE WIN IT?
With seven goals in his last nine outings, our no.14 has been in stunning form in recent weeks – not least during a busy December as he has flourished since switching to a central attacking role.
Lingard featured in seven of our nine games throughout the month, which he began with an impressive display and two crucial goals in the 3-1 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
He started both the 2-1 derby defeat against Manchester City and 1-0 victory over Bournemouth at Old Trafford, before notching what proved to be the winning goal at West Bromwich Albion, as his strike deflected in off Ahmed Hegazi in the 2-1 triumph at The Hawthorns.
Despite missing a good chance in the second half, when hitting a post, the England forward put in a good performance in the Reds' 2-2 draw at Leicester City just before Christmas before making a crucial contribution against Burnley on Boxing Day, coming on as a half-time substitute to score two excellent goals as United came from 2-0 down to claim a point.
He also played the full 90 minutes in the goalless draw at home to Southampton in our final game of the year.
Lingard, who is becoming an increasingly influential and important player for the Reds, is enjoying his best-ever goalscoring campaign after reaching double figures in all competitions with a fine strike to seal the 2-0 win at Everton on New Year’s Day and has set a personal goals target for the rest of the season which he is keeping to himself.
He hopes to continue his excellent form when the Reds host Championship side Derby County – where Lingard spent the second half of the 2014/15 season on loan – in the Emirates FA Cup and was undoubtedly a worthy winner of his first Player of the Month award. Congratulations, Jesse!
Goals: West Brom 1 United 2Video
Lingard pleased with his influential strikeVideo
PRAISE FROM JOSE, JUAN AND ANDER
Lingard’s progress in recent weeks certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by the manager and his team-mates alike.
Jose Mourinho feels the forward is making the jump to become
“a very good player”, with the boss adding after the win over Everton:
“He is being more consistent, he is adaptable, he understands better the game, he understands the different spaces and positions. I think he is going in a good direction.”
Juan Mata believes his fellow attacker has matured this season and is playing his best football in a United shirt.
“He’s been with us in the first team for a few seasons now and this season he’s really scoring and playing his best football and playing with confidence,” our no.8 said of Lingard.
“I think he’s matured as a player and we are very happy with him because he’s helping the team with important goals.”
Ander Herrera also feels Jesse deserves all the attention he’s getting.
“He wants to improve, to be a fantastic player – you can see that in every training session and he’s showing that in the games. He’s very quick as well; no-one can touch him, so we are very happy for him.”
THE STAR OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Here are just a few of our favourite tweets about Jesse from recent weeks...
Gary Neville on Jesse Lingard:— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) January 4, 2018“I've heard people saying he's not good enough, saying get Mkhitaryan in, get Martial in. No, let's get Lingard in because he has all of the characteristics you want.”pic.twitter.com/25W2oIEsl7
Less minutes, more goals than the big name competition. It’s time to talk about Jesse Lingard 🙌 pic.twitter.com/nvs2qzB4wq— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 1, 2018
6 - Since the start of December, only Harry Kane (8) has scored more Premier League goals than Jesse Lingard (6). Unstoppable. pic.twitter.com/vpyOF56ke8— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 1, 2018