Jesse Lingard has named a former Manchester United team-mate who was ‘quality’ in training despite his unsuccessful spell at Old Trafford.
Lingard joined the Red Devils’ academy at the age of seven and signed his first professional contract with the club in 2011.
After loan spells at Leicester, Birmingham and Brighton, he made his competitive debut for United in 2014, and went on to make 232 appearances for the club before departing last summer to join Nottingham Forest on a free transfer.
Throughout his time at United, therefore, Lingard saw many high-profile players come and go at the club.
The likes of Juan Mata and, particularly, Robin van Persie, had major impacts on United, with Van Persie firing the club to their most recent Premier League title in 2013.
But big spending hasn’t always worked for the Red Devils since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, with a number of high-profile incomings failing to deliver consistently despite lofty expectations.
When asked about a potential reason for this on the Diary Of A CEO podcast, Lingard named another major United signing that impressed hugely in training but ultimately did not succeed at Old Trafford.
Lingard on United’s major signings
The England international used former Red Devils forward Alexis Sanchez as an example of a signing that simply did not work out.
Sanchez was a high-profile addition to the squad in January 2018, signing from rivals Arsenal. But the Chilean, who had smashed in 80 goals in all competitions the previous three seasons for the Gunners, managed just five goals in 18 months at United.
He moved on loan to Inter Milan in the summer of 2019, and left permanently the following summer. The 34-year-old now plays for Ligue 1 side Marseille, alongside United defender Eric Bailly.
Lingard explained (quotes via Metro): “It’s strange, because a lot of players have come in and failed. Alexis in training… top. Alexis Sanchez, quality, in training he was quality.
“Then it comes to a game, and it just didn’t click for some reason. I don’t know why. Is it pressure? When I was playing, especially with Rom and Alexis, we just wanted to enjoy our football. It’s always going to be hard to win the Prem when Manchester City have been dominant for many years.
“Even to win the Europa League, Carabao Cup, Community Shield, we’re winning trophies, but then when Jose left, the trophies stopped. And that’s difficult. Another new manager. You have to prove yourself over and over again.”