Jesse Lingard has faced a host of opponents over the years, but even he would have been amazed at the mean abuse he got when trying to get on the Manchester United team bus after their FA Cup win against Derby County.
The vitriol hurled to the midfielder was loud and constant enough for teammate Luke Shaw to intervene. It was an ugly scene that shamed the United supporters who thought it necessary.
Unfortunately, Lingard has become almost insensitive to abuse.
He’s the footballer that everyone loves – the player who talks the conversation without walking the walk, who likes to show off his status off the field, without actually performing.
Jesse Lingard has endured a scorching season at Manchester United, struggling on the field
His bad shape was noticed by fans who mistreat the winger in Derby
The problem with that perception is that, in all honesty, it’s just not true.
Lingard got through to Manchester United and had to wait his time to break into the first team. He never got star status from a young age and was forced to work for it – spending time borrowed in Leicester City, Birmingham City and Brighton to get his first team experience.
He made his first team debut for the Red Devils only when he was 21, far from a teen sensation with the expectations of the world on his shoulders. Even after that, he was loaned to Derby. He was forced to remain on the floor in his attempt to break into Old Trafford’s locker room.
His perseverance to break into the squad at first earned him much deserved praise from United fans and the wider football community – the fairy tale of the local boy who came to play well for his youth club.
Lingard was Manchester United’s FA Cup hero when he won the 2016 Wembley winner
Lingard established himself as a fixture under Louis van Gaal and was the architect of both impressive and important goals. He won the winner in the FA Cup final in 2016 against Crystal Palace.
His celebrations clearly showed that he was having fun playing for the shirt. Maybe too much, as far as some were concerned.
International recognition also came. He made his debut in October 2016 against Malta and was part of the team of Gareth Southgate who reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia.
He was a team player in 2018, making his presence felt against Panama with a stunning strike in a 6-1 group stage victory. His confidence was infectious with the squad – particularly in one video where he sang ‘It’s Coming Home’ alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold following the victory over Colombia in the last 16.
Due to the loss of form of the winger, he fell outside the international settlement for England
Maybe it’s that confidence that is the trigger for some who detest the midfielder. He doesn’t seem shy and few players have their own signatures to celebrate their goals.
That signature has become the emblem of his own brand – JLingz – with which he released a clothing line.
It is a stick that has been used extensively to defeat Lingard. He was criticized for using the emblem on his Instagram post to convey his thoughts and condolences after the Manchester Arena terror attack.
It was also a source of anger for former Manchester United icons.
Speaking of Sky Sports, both Roy Keane and Gary Neville were struggling with Lingard’s off-field operations.
“If that were a good, strong dressing room that wouldn’t be tolerated. That’s why I’m concerned about United’s dressing room, “said Keane in 2018.
Roy Keane did not hold back when he told Lingard about his off-field activities in 2018
“For a young player who is still learning his trade, he may be the nicest boy in the world, I don’t know him. But you come out with all that nonsense.
“I think football should be your number 1 priority. People say you should have other things outside of football, but I don’t think you should. ‘
Nor was Marcel impressed.
“Earlier this week, you’re talking about players and characters,” he said.
“I’m actually a big fan of Jesse Lingard and I have no problem with him launching a clothing range, but don’t launch it until Liverpool is gone, one of the biggest games of the season.
“But you see that little thing and I thought,” Not this week, it’s Liverpool. “
“Concentrate on Liverpool, no distractions. No breakdowns. ‘
Lingard commented on United’s official podcast, saying, “I think people think I’m doing everything for it. They are like “just focus on football”. I’m not going to the factories, pack them up, you know what I mean?
“I don’t get tired of doing anything. If you went home with me, you’d think I’m boring. ‘
It is unheard of for Paul Pogba to defend his adidas range, or for Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to do the same for their range.
The 27-year-old has released his own clothing range under his label ‘JLingz’
What Lingard seems to take out is his position in the game compared to bigger names with their own businesses.
Their ability on the field seems in some eyes to give them the right to pursue other interests. Because of that logic, the shape of the 27-year-old doesn’t offer him the same freedoms.
UFC fighter Darren Till is the latest sportsman targeted by Lingard – this time with a pop over his toilet roll challenge Instagram post. Liverpool fan Till accused Lingard of *** tactics for censoring comments.
But under the abuse thrown at him outside of Pride Park, he reminded him of his scorching 2019. Derby was his last game for United – they played two more before the corona virus stopped – and Lingard failed to record one goal or help in the Eredivisie.
It’s a stat that the player himself has been embarrassed about, recently admitting after the FA Cup clash with Tranmere Rovers that he “wasn’t in the best shape.”
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not impressed for a moment. His public dressing up for Lingard during their Carabao Cup clash with Manchester City – telling the midfielder in the heat of the moment that he would be ‘f ****** off’ if he gave up possession again – was the response from manager who has lost patience with one of his players.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made it clear that he believes that Lingard should improve his performance
Solskjaer also had to speak to Lingard last summer when he posted an embarrassing social media video while on vacation with teammate Marcus Rashford.
Lingard filmed in the luxury suite he shared with Rashford, former United player Ro-Shaun Williams and their friend Jamal Branker on a Miami vacation.
Lingard was heard swearing several times as he went from room to room before filming Branker simulating having sex on his bed.
Obviously, Lingard intended to save the video, but eventually posted it to his Snapchat account.
However, it is other things outside the field that give an idea as to why its shape may have been submerged.
Lingard had to front against Solskjaer late last year when it became clear that the Norwegian was not impressed by his form.
It was at this point that the 27-year-old was forced to clean up with his boss about his situation at home – namely, that he took care of his two siblings – 14-year-old Jasper and 11-year-old Daisy-Boo – because of his mother’s struggle with illness.
“I’ve been down and down; just worrying, ”he said in an exclusive interview with Sportsmail’s Ian Ladyman in December. “I had the feeling that everyone had just passed all the stuff over to me and it weighed on my shoulders. It was like, “Please, Jesse, you deal with this yourself.”
His words are those of a young man who is fed up with his current situation. His actions have also reflected that sentiment.
His decision to enlist the services of Mino Raiola – the super agent already at odds with Old Trafford’s powers – was seen as a provocation from Lingard, with the lease being a strong indication that the player is away from his future from United.
With United seemingly happy to part ways, a fresh start may be best for everyone involved.