Gary Neville on what makes Jesse Lingard so important to Man Utd and England

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Jesse Lingard can leave Russia this weekend with his head held high.

The Manchester United forward hasn't always been the most popular player amongst England supporters but his World Cup campaign has changed the opinion of many.

He scored and provided an assist in Russia and was arguably the best performer from the attacking triumvirate of himself, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling.

Gareth Southgate gave him the nod for games against Tunisia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Sweden and the heartbreaking semi-final with Croatia.

And all of that on the back of an impressive season with United that saw him fending off the likes of Anthony Martial and close friend Marcus Rashford.

Lingard impressive at the World Cup

As a result, there's plenty of reason for Lingard to feel confident going into the third play-off with Belgium and another campaign under the wing of Jose Mourinho.

One man who has been impressed with the 25-year-old recently is Gary Neville.

Working as a pundit with ITV this summer, the former United man has been analysing the performances of England players who turn out for his old team.

Amidst all his analysis, Lingard received the highest praise of all and even earned an interesting comparison to a fans' favourite at Old Trafford.

England v Croatia: Semi Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Gary Neville makes Park comparison

"Jesse Lingard makes that many runs during a game that he would be a dream for his teammates to play with -- like if you're Harry Kane and you have Lingard running past you all the time. I always remember Ji-Sung Park at United," Neville mused.

"Everyone, including me, talks about [Wayne] Rooney, [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Carlos] Tevez, but the missing cog was Ji-Sung Park -- or Owen Hargreaves in 2007-08. Without those type of players, you can't have balance. That's what Jesse brings.

"He's a fantastic player in terms of how he contributes to a team's dynamic. He's done really well in his World Cup. Gareth and Jose Mourinho deserve so much credit for the faith they've shown in Jesse.

"At United, there are more fashionable players like [Juan] Mata, [Anthony] Martial, Alexis Sanchez, [Marcus] Rashford, [Paul] Pogba or [Romelu] Lukaku. Yet Jesse is the one who makes the team play better."

Lingard's work rate for the rest of the team and abundance of runs makes a comparison to Ji-Sung Park surprisingly substantiated.

Neville is exactly right for highlighting what Lingard brings to the entire XI that other players - even those arguably more talented - simply can't deliver.


Southgate has hinted that he will limit changes against Belgium on Saturday, so Lingard may be given the opportunity to shine once again in Russia.

If that's the case, a well deserved rest will be in order for the Englishman ahead of a return to action with United in pre-season.

Even with Martial, Rashford and Alexis Sanchez vying for places, you still get the feeling Lingard will have a major impact on United's season going forward.

Do you think Jesse Lingard is underrated at Man Utd? Have your say in the comments section below.

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Gareth Southgate
Dele Alli
Jesse Lingard
Jose Mourinho
Raheem Sterling
England Football
World Cup
Premier League
Manchester United

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