Gary Neville expresses support for Jesse Lingard following contract renewal

by Leo Nieboer

Gary Neville has come out in defence of Jesse Lingard after supporters berated the 24-year-old for receiving such a high wage following a recent contract renewal.

Lingard was awarded a new four-year contract by Jose Mourinho on Thursday, trebling his wages to £100,000 a week.

The news was met with some considerable fury from supporters, with some insisting that Lingard’s recent performances didn’t merit such an award.

And Neville, in response, was quick to leap to the Englishman’s defence.

I wish I could tell you that this exercise of strangers berating a player for earning astronomical sums of money was new. I wish I could tell you that. But I’m afraid that Lingard now figures in a long, endlessly growing list of players who received a new contract and incited a riot on social media as a result.

The Englishman is perfect for this sort of role: exuberant, flashy, sometimes cocky, and nothing like Roy Keane, your Dad is saying. “He was a proper player; wouldn’t have stood for any of this dabbing nonsense.”

There will always be a segment of supporters who will – instead of praising one of their homegrown talents for living their dream – furiously froth at the sight of a ‘flashy’ player receiving a big pay check. Their anger, I suspect, doesn’t really lie with Lingard specifically, but instead with the vast sums of money pervading – and indeed radically changing the nature of – the beautiful game.

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