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Former Manchester United center-back Rio Ferdinand has insisted that Jesse Lingard needs to “close a chapter” in his Manchester United career and leave the club at the end of the season.
Failing to make a single Premier League appearance for the Red Devils this season, Lingard traded Old Trafford for London Stadium in a loan deal in January.
The English international has already racked up three goals and an assist in his four league appearances for West Ham, and Ferdinand believes it is time for the midfielder to leave Manchester United.
“I talked about this earlier and said I thought Jesse should close a chapter in Man Utd because he hasn’t been part of the team, he hasn’t been part of the team for years,” Ferdinand told his FIVE YouTube channel.
“You see the smile on his face now, the way he plays football, the confidence he seems to have. There’s a gleam in his eyes again that I haven’t seen in two years.
“How can he want to go back to being a secondary player after trying this? He adapted right away and I can’t see him wanting to go back to Man Utd where he will have to be the people’s second fiddle.
“Because it will, it will have to be Bruno Fernandes’ second violin in that position [in the hole], it will have to be a second fiddle to anyone who plays front or band.
“I’m not saying it’s not good enough, I’m saying that’s what the teams and the squads that have been chosen have shown me.”
It is understood that Lingard’s loan to West Ham does not include a purchase option, meaning that the midfielder could return to Old Trafford in the summer.
However, Ferdinand doesn’t think the 28-year-old will be short of offers when his loan deal with the Hammers expires, and he believes his former teammate is vastly underrated.
“I said before, a successful end to the season would be for various clubs to compete for Jesse Lingard,” he added. “Where we are now, I think a number of clubs will bid for Jesse Lingard and he will have the option to choose from many clubs other than West Ham.”
“Even some of my fellow off-camera experts have said ‘oh it’s not Man United [quality]’I have always argued that Jesse Lingard is a Manchester United player, a high-level footballer, a decent player.
“A proper footballer, he plays one touch, he plays two touches, always on the move, always puts himself in good positions and can score goals. And great goals have sometimes been shown.
“But the team has to play in the way that suits them best and he needs that confidence too. I spoke to Mark Noble the other day, the West Ham captain, and he said ‘I can’t believe Rio how good and impressed I am. ‘”. For this boy, the way he plays I knew he was a good player, don’t get me wrong, but I was surprised at how good he really is.