Home may be where the heart is, but there is a lot to be said for flying from the nest. Removing yourself from any given comfort zone allows wings to be spread and new life experience to be acquired.
For Jesse Lingard, the time may be fast approaching for him to bid farewell to home comforts. The Warrington native will forever be bonded to his Cheshire roots, but they do not define him and he deserves better in his day job than being a bit-part player at Manchester United.
Severing those ties will be difficult as, for all of their current issues, the Red Devils remain one of the biggest clubs on the planet and hold obvious appeal to anyone fortunate enough to grace their books – especially home-grown stars who have come through the ranks.
Premier League betting from Paddy Power still has United at 5/6 to secure a top-four finish this season, despite slipping to 90/1 for the title itself. They are also in contention for major silverware at home and abroad.
The latest Premier League betting tips suggest that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will get it right, with any squad boasting the collective talents of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes set to find a spark at some stage.
— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) September 28, 2021
That, though, is part of the problem for Lingard – there is too much competition for places. In United’s strongest starting XI, there is no berth to be found for him. He may not even be first in line to step off the bench.
Will Lingard leave in January?
The good news for Lingard is that another window of opportunity is about to swing open. If he does want to get out of Manchester, then a January transfer can be sought.
He headed down that path in 2021 and may decide to do likewise in 2022. Few could blame him if a fond farewell is bid to a part of the world that has served him well and made him an international performer.
Said standing needs to be maintained, and sporadic minutes with the Red Devils are not going to be enough. England boss Gareth Southgate is already starting to lose interest and is blessed with an abundance of options in the playmaking department.
If Lingard intends on remaining part of that pack, then he needs to find a starring role elsewhere. West Ham provided that stage during a productive loan spell last season, which proves that the opportunities are out there.
— West Ham United (@WestHam) April 16, 2021
A number of clubs across Europe, from Newcastle to Barcelona, are said to be mulling over winter raids on United. If formal offers are tabled, then focus will be narrowed as big decisions are made.
Lingard is not turning his back on anyone, far from it, he has merely reached a stage in his career where he has to look after number one. He has earned that right.
The North West will always be home sweet home, but it is a big world out there and Lingard would be advised to go and explore a bit more of it before potentially returning to his roots in retirement.