Rio Ferdinand pays tribute to Jesse Lingard after stunning Panama goal

by Alex Turk

Rio Ferdinand has heaped praise on Jesse Lingard after the Manchester United midfielder put in a stand-out performance as England thrashed lowly Panama 6-1 in Nizhny Novgorod.

Lingard once again acted as a crucial creative spark for Gareth Southgate’s hopeful side and topped off his eye-catching display with a stunning strike to make the score 3-0 on 36 minutes.

After bursting forward on the left flank, he played a perfectly-executed one-two with Raheem Sterling on the edge of the area before curling past the hopeless Jaime Penedo in goal from 20 yards out.

Even though hatrick hero Harry Kane rightly stole all of the headlines after full-time, former England and Man United defender Ferdinand reserved special praise for Lingard.

“With the finish, this is where Jess is unbelievable – this finish was exquisite. I have seen this from this boy since he was 11 years old at Manchester United,” Ferdinand stated.

“People always questioned, ‘is he going to be big enough, is he going to be strong enough’, but when you have the intelligence and game management that this kid’s got, you can be two foot tall and get through.”

He continued: “Jesse is that intelligent, he is that good, he understands the game, and when he gets in like this, although we didn’t see it the other day when he wasn’t clinical, we all said that when he gets the chances again he will put them away, and he certainly did.”

It was as good a goal as we’ve seen so far at the tournament in Russia, Lingard’s first with England, and you can only agree with Ferdinand when he says: “That finish there – a generation of kids will remember that goal.”

Jose Mourinho has had a phenomenal impact on the 25-year-old since arriving at United as manager in 2016 and he is, once again, expected to play a key part in the Portuguese’s plans throughout the 2018-19 season.

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