Rio Ferdinand has praised Jesse Lingard for making an impact after his rollercoaster week at Manchester United, and hailed the individual qualities he brings to the team.
Lingard has managed to move from villain to hero in just a matter of days, having made a horror mistake and handed Young Boys their winner in the Champions League before then scoring a last-gasp goal at West Ham.
And Ferdinand, despite admitting he would have urged Lingard to leave if he found his game time limited, believes that the playmaker is now flourishing once again.
Rio Ferdinand has hailed Jesse Lingard after his winner for Manchester United at West Ham
‘People were crying out for Jesse Lingard to go out on loan,’ Ferdinand said on the latest Vibe with Five episode. ‘Yeah, I agree. If he wasn’t going to get opportunities, I would say “you’ve got to go.”
‘But it looks like Ole has said to him in the summer, “you’re going to get opportunities, I’m going to give you game time. You’ve got to make an impact.” And he’s doing that.
‘This is a great example of how you can be the villain one week and then three or four days later, you are the hero.
Lingard, who was brought on as a substitute, made a fine impact by picking out the top corner
Former United defender Ferdinand says the past week for Lingard sums up life as a footballer
‘This week for Jesse Lingard encapsulates exactly what it’s like to be a footballer. He gave away a goal, held his hands up during the week. Everyone was saying he should be gone. Come this week, he gets thrown on and produces the goods.
‘He bangs one in the top corner. I’ve got to say, I’ve got some things wrong. We all do. But with Jesse Lingard, I’ve been consistent. I’ve always said he’s an asset to Manchester United if we use him in the right way.
‘He’s come on in this game and produced. I think he can do that all season if he’s willing to play that role of coming in and being an impact player.’
Lingard’s sloppy back pass just yards from his own goal proved enough to hand Young Boys the chance to secure a famous victory in Bern, and his team-mates and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked to quickly rally around him.
Lingard (C) was guilty of a poor back pass that saw Young Boys beat United in stoppage time
Just four days on, the 28-year-old was mobbed after arrowing a stunning shot into the top corner at the London Stadium, and Ferdinand has also highlighted the particular aspects of his game that have stood out.
‘He’s different,’ he added. ‘His movement off the ball is different to any of the players we have got, in terms of making himself available, making one or two touch, always on the move, and doing work off the ball too.
‘And you need that variety in the team. They can’t all be similar players, he gives you that something different.’
Boss Solskjaer, who made the decision to throw Lingard into the tense fray for the final quarter at the weekend, heaped praise on his match-winner and, like Ferdinand, reflected on the unpredictable nature of life at the top.
But Lingard more than made amends after netting for United and securing them a crucial win
‘You have to learn to live with the highs and the lows,’ Solskjaer said.
‘He said sorry after Tuesday and everyone said that’s not necessary. He came on [today] and was brilliant.
‘It was a great goal. I’m so happy for Jesse. Of course, he had a tough evening on Tuesday, but he’s knuckled down and has worked hard again.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke glowingly of Lingard and his response after his mistake
‘He’s been the same bright, positive lad, and what a goal. So happy for him. It was a great pass from Nemanja [Matic] and a good turn by Jesse.
‘[It was] a great response to their goal. I thought we played some very good football first half, but then we need to defend better.’
Lingard’s celebration was notably muted after he found the net, out of respect for his successful loan spell at West Ham during the second half of last season.