Solskjaer: Lingard still has a part to play
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has addressed new speculation surrounding a move away from Manchester United for Jesse Lingard.
The England international spent the second half of last season on loan with West Ham, and Hammers boss David Moyes admitted during the summer that the London club were interested in retaining the 28-year-old's services.
That didn’t happen, as Lingard returned north to rejoin the Reds’ squad ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
But journalists at Friday's pre-match press conference asked Solskjaer to respond to the persistent rumours surrounding Jesse's future, while also previewing Saturday's game against Watford at Vicarage Road (15:00 GMT).
“Jesse is training really hard, really well, and he’s ready and available for me,” began Ole. “He’s definitely disappointed he’s not played more, of course.
“But with regards to contract situations, I’ve not been in the talks very closely, so for me Jesse’s still a big, important part of this squad. He gives energy and quality to the group every day.”
Lingard has made eight appearances for United so far this season, and scored two memorable goals, against Newcastle and, ironically, West Ham.
The latter strike was a decisive late winner against his former loan club, and the Academy graduate also played a big part in Cristiano Ronaldo’s late winner against Villarreal 10 days later.
Solskjaer admitted that he understood Jesse's frustration, but added that he expected our no.14 to play a big part in our upcoming fixtures, as the domestic football schedule builds towards the always hectic Christmas and New Year period.
“Every player wants to play as much as possible,” acknowledged the boss.
“The thing with Jesse and all my players is they are working hard. I can’t fault the attitude and they’re ready when they’re called upon, when they’re playing.
“Jesse has done well when he’s played for us. He knows that with all the games coming up, that he’s going to play a part.”