Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested Jesse Lingard will be welcome back to Old Trafford at the end of the season, following his ‘brilliant’ loan spell at West Ham United.
The homegrown midfielder has been one of the best players in the Premier League since moving to the London Stadium on a temporary basis in January, scoring eight and assisting four across nine games to help the Hammers stake a claim for a surprise Champions League berth.
After Lingard netted another brace at the weekend to help the Londoners beat top-four rivals Leicester 3-2, Ole was asked what he thought the reasons were behind Lingard’s success with David Moyes’s side.
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The Norwegian admitted that it would have been easy to retain the 28-year-old in his squad for the latter stages of the season, but that Lingard had earned his chance to play first-team football and is now reaping the rewards.
“Jesse has been brilliant since he left and I’ve answered this quite a few times,” Ole told reporters at his pre-Granada press conference.
“Selfishly, we could have kept him because he’s always got a part to play, he’s a fantastic lad around the place, Man United through and through, never once did he moan or cause me a problem, he just worked really hard.
“He deserved a chance to play for more football – that’s why we let him go to West Ham because he deserves a chance for what he’s done throughout his life for Man United.
“Of course, we [will] welcome him back.”
Lingard’s superb form for the Hammers helped win him an international recall, after almost two years outside of Gareth Southgate’s squad.
He featured in all three of England’s World Cup qualifiers in March and is thought to be in with a good chance of making this summer’s European Championship squad.
A place in that 23-man party is something Solskjaer would like to see his no.14 achieve, hopefully after continuing his recent performances into the last month or so of the campaign.
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“I hope he goes to the Euros, with his performances now, with the confidence he’s got, I don’t think that’s beyond him,” Solskjaer added.
“I hope he has a strong finish to the league.
“It was different here [with] Bruno [Fernandes and] the form he’s played in, arguably in Jesse’s favourite position, and that was just a decision that we’ve made.
“Delighted, though, for Jesse and just wish him all the best for the rest of the season until he comes back.”