With Chelsea in pursuit of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, should David Moyes start looking for a replacement already?
The England international has been an integral part of United’s squad since he joined in 2004, but Rooney has been the subject of intense speculation over a transfer to Stamford Bridge.
But if Rooney goes, who could replace him? Well, perhaps Moyes won’t have far to look, as English youngster Jesse Lingard has been in tremendous form during the club’s pre-season tour of Asia, leading the scoring charts with four out of four.
But who is Jesse Lingard?
The attacking midfielder was born in Warrington in Chesire – just 15 miles from Old Trafford – and he has risen through the ranks at United, developing under the tutelage of both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Warren Joyce as well as Under-18s manager Paul McGuinness.
Lingard has caught the eye in recent years, becoming one of the stand-out talents in reserve and under-21 football in England, and he went on United’s pre-season tour in 2012 as well as this year.
He was named on the bench for the Carling Cup ties against Newcastle and Chelsea, before going on a short-term loan to Leicester City where he made five appearances.
Having won the FA Youth Cup in 2011 with United, he will hope to secure further success with the Premier League champions, and he may get an early chance to when United meet Wigan Athletic in the Community Shield on August 11.
United describe the hot prospect as “capable of mixing the spectacular finish with clinical, well-placed shots, he causes problems for defenders with his direct running.”
Speaking about himself during this year’s tour, Lingard said: “I believe in myself but I have to start believing in myself more. That is what the coaches have been telling me. I have to know what my game’s about and keep scoring.”
With England’s representative teams all experiencing dismal summer campaigns, perhaps players like Lingard, who is yet to be capped at any level, should be given a chance to impress having forced their way into Premier League reckoning.
And with Rooney having slipped back towards the midfield in recent seasons, Lingard is capable of fulfilling his boots in terms of position, with Lingard adaptable to play on both flanks as well as his favoured central role.