This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Having come through the Manchester United academy to become a regular for the Red Devils’ first-team, Jesse Lingard could quite conceivably be considered one of the poster boys of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s new youth-driven era.
The ace has been one of the main components of United’s squad in recent seasons, but has had serious questions asked of his temperament and attitude towards the game.
Whilst last season was disappointing as a whole for the team, the 26-year-old in particular endured a difficult campaign. In 36 appearances across all competitions, the England international managed just five goals and four assists.
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Having been trusted to play as the side’s number ten in the clash against Wolves on Monday night, big things would surely have been expected of the versatile midfielder. Instead, Lingard produced a display so anonymous that he was perhaps more of a hindrance to his team than a benefit.
Coming up against Wolves’ tried-and-trusted midfield trio of Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves and Leander Dendoncker, Lingard seemed to get lost in the shadows. The United ace struggled to impose himself on the game, and whenever the Red Devils did win the ball back, he was often bypassed by his teammates.
Solskjaer’s emphasis on counter-attacking football effectively took the midfielder out of the game as the side chose to make the most out of Marcus Rashford and Daniel James’ pace on the wings.
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Such was his ineffectiveness, Lingard managed a total of zero shots, zero key passes and zero dribbles in the 81 minutes he was on the pitch.
Indeed, the United academy product would have managed one shot had he not comically swiped at a cut-back from a teammate. All in all, it was the kind of display the Englishman would want to forget in a hurry, and even when he did get the ball to feet, he was robbed of it by Wolves players.
The likes of Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata remain more than viable options for Solskjaer to use in that advanced midfield role, and after such an invisible performance, it remains to be seen whether the United boss persists with the academy graduate.
The fans crucified him after the game, and the numbers show they were absolutely right.