Football

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks up Jesse Lingard as West Ham United plan bid for Manchester United star


West Ham want to sign Jesse Lingard permanently (Photo by Justin Tallis – Pool/Getty Images)

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he’s always rated Jesse Lingard and is delighted to see him performing well on loan for West Ham United.

The midfielder was sent on loan to the London Stadium in late January after failing to start a single Premier League game for the Red Devils this season.

Lingard had endured a difficult 18 months at Old Trafford, both on and off the field, but he found his feet quickly in east London and was selected for the latest England squad after scoring five times for the Hammers in his first seven appearances.

Lingard’s move did not include an option to buy and there’s been suggestions that he will return to Old Trafford given his sparkling form.

And though Solskjaer would not confirm the reports, he made it clear just how much he rates the England playmaker.

‘You know, sometimes as a manager, you can think only about yourself and your own squad,’ said Solskjaer.

‘The selfish thing would have been to keep Jesse, because he would have got the chance.

Lingard has 15 months to run on his United deal (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

‘He knows we made the decision to let him go and that was a personal decision he was going to benefit from and West Ham were going to benefit from. He deserved to play more towards the end of the season because there is a big Euros as well in the summer and we hope he is going to be part of it.

‘I have always rated Jesse very highly. For different reasons it has not worked out for him in the last year or so.

‘But he knows what I feel about him, both as a person and as a player, and the way he has handled things that people don’t really know about. I’ve tried to help him of course as well as I can, but to see how he’s handled it, has been an example for everyone to follow.

‘He has kept his head down, focussed on his football and he gets his rewards with his performances.’

United value Lingard at around £25m but they’ll likely have to accept a lower fee given he’ll have just a year left on his deal by the end of the season.

Moyes admitted this week that the club would love to keep Lingard.

‘We will say yes we’d love to have Jesse, because of how well he’s doing, but we’ve still get nine games to go to, to judge and assess Jesse, just like Manchester United will have a period of time to think whether they want to sell or keep him. There’s nothing in place at the moment,’ said Moyes.


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