Rio Ferdinand has criticised Jesse Lingard for his decision to stay at Manchester United last summer and reckons he has “wasted” the season rotting away at Old Trafford.
Lingard’s future has been the subject of many column inches during the January transfer window. Promised increased game time by then manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the midfielder has played just 88 minutes of league football this term. The arrival of Ralf Rangnick has done nothing to improve his situation.
A end to his Old Trafford stay appeared to be on the cards with Newcastle making a firm approach to sign him. Ultimately though, a deal could not be agreed with United seemingly standing firm after allowing the likes of Amad Diallo and Anthony Martial to leave.
With just six months left on his deal, a free-transfer departure at Old Trafford appears a likely outcome this summer. That said, John Murtough is asking the likes of Lingard and Pogba to put any decision on ice.
Even so, Ferdinand reckons Lingard will now be regretting his decision to stay at Old Trafford. Last season, Lingard rekindled his career with a barnstorming loan spell at West Ham.
His nine goals and four assists in 16 matches for the Hammers last time around earmarked him as a man in demand.
Jesse Lingard decision bamboozled Rio
However, stay he did and now, months later, Ferdinand reckons Lingard made a huge mistake.
“I wouldn’t be happy if I was a player. It’s almost like he’s wasted a whole year of his career, a whole season of his career has been wasted,” Ferdinand said on his FIVE YouTube channel.
“He hasn’t played hardly any games, hasn’t been involved. Jesse Lingard went to West Ham and done fantastically well. Everyone would have wanted to take him outside of probably the top four… And then he goes back to Man United and doesn’t play.
“I was just baffled that he went back to Man United in the first place. After having that taste of success, that taste of playing every week.
“Either he was promised by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he’d get more game time. I don’t know what it was. And then this window you’d think he’d be doing all he can to get out.
“Maybe he took too long in getting to that point of wanting to leave. Did he ask to leave at the beginning of the window? Or did he make a decision later on in the window that he wanted to leave? Maybe, by then other situations took it out of his hands maybe? I don’t know.
“But you look at his career and I just think the last year or two has just been wasted by just sticking around at Man United. He’s never going to play games. It’s just crazy.”
Rio Ferdinand on Van de Beek exit
One player who did secure a move away on deadline day was Donny Van de Beek.
The unhappy midfielder has linked up with Everton on loan and will try to rekindle his career under Frank Lampard.
On Van de Beek’s departure. Ferdinand added: “We had Donny on the show a while back. And I’ve been able to stay in contact and speak to him quite a lot. I spoke to him over this deal as well, over this period of time.
Obviously Frank Lampard was a big driver but also [Crystal Palace boss] Patrick Vieira was a big driver for him because he respects both.
“But I think being able to stay at home still, in Manchester, not having to move. His girlfriend’s pregnant as well, these are factors that played a part as well. But also, I think the important thing for Donny van de Beek – yes to play games – but just as important is where he is going to be played.
“If you’re going to ask him to play the similar roles that he played at Man United, which is maybe a little bit more defensive at times, then you’re not going to get the best out of him. You have to give him license to go forward, license to attack the box.
Rio remembers Donny’s Ajax form
Judging him by what he did at Ajax he was allowed to get into the box and free rein to get in there. It’s about timing his runs to get opportunities to score goals.
“He knows how to score, he knows how to play one- and two-touch in progressive, possession-based football. And Frank Lampard, in his short time as a manager, has tried to make his teams play football in a way that someone like Donny van de Beek might be able to flourish. I hope it works for both of them.”