Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on Jesse Lingard after the Englishman produced another decisive display going forward during Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Everton.
The 25-year-old, who begun the season miles away from the starting XI, has started nine Premier League games in a row under Mourinho.
And he took his goal tally into double figures at Goodison Park with a beautiful curling strike to kill the game after 81 minutes and cap off another lively display.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho hailed Lingard’s improved attitude and execution this season.
“These boys, one thing is to be a young talent and another thing is to a be a very good player and some are not capable of doing that jump,” he said. “They go from great potential as young players to normal players and I think Jesse is doing that jump.”
“He is being more consistent, more adaptable, he understands the game and the different positions. He is going in a good direction.”
Your dad cannot stand the sight of Lingard doing well, which makes his rise to prominence this season all the more enjoyable. He still doesn’t know what the ‘Milly rock’ is.
But for all the derision his ‘JLingz’ persona receives, this is a man who has relentlessly improved himself over the summer and forged his way into the starting XI as a result.
In an attack swirling with flair and thrust, Lingard needed to go beyond serving as an energetic, disciplined influence on the pitch. And he acknowledged that himself, claiming ahead of the campaign that his potency in front of goal needed to improve.
And he has stuck to his word, reaching double figures by the mid-point of the season – claiming important goals along the way. But his overall presence on the ball has improved as well: nimble, purposeful, adept at skipping past challenges whilst in full flow with relative ease.
Perhaps Mourinho deserves more praise for giving Lingard, who has found his raison d’être at No.10, the opportunity to develop his game so emphatically over the last couple of months.