Lingard granted time off to ‘clear his head’ after failed transfer

News Desk
Jesse Lingard during a match

Manchester United have given Jesse Lingard time off after the club blocked his departure on deadline day, interim manager Ralf Rangnick has confirmed.

The wantaway 29-year-old attacking midfielder is out of contract this summer and has been subject to widespread speculation.

Newcastle, West Ham – where he excelled on loan last season – and Tottenham were among the suitors, but the club decided to keep Lingard until the end of the season.

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Rangnick revealed the frustrated England international has since been granted a short leave of absence and will miss Friday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie against Middlesbrough.

“He asked me and the club if we could give him a couple of days off just to clear up his mind,” the interim United boss said.

“He will be back in the group, I suppose, next Monday, back for training and then be a regular part of the whole squad again.”

Rangnick revealed that the situation regarding Mason Greenwood was partly behind the decision to keep Lingard for the rest of the campaign.

Greenwood, who was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of the rape and assault of a woman, has been released on bail pending further investigation and remains suspended by United.

“Three weeks ago Jesse didn’t want to leave,” Rangnick said. “Then he changed his mind.

“I had a chat with him some 10 days ago and I could fully understand why he wanted to leave to get game time for his future, also for the World Cup.

“I said to him at the time in case he finds a club where he would like to play for and also the club finds a solution with our club, I would let him go, I would allow him to leave.

“Obviously with all the developments we had in the last couple of days, things changed a little bit.

“On the other hand, we also had no agreement with any other club, so at one stage we had to take a final decision together with the board and we decided to rather keep Jesse until the end of the season.”

United will be without a number of players when Boro arrive at Old Trafford on Friday, but Rangnick has confirmed Paul Pogba is set to return from his three-month injury lay-off.

The 28-year-old – another player out of contract this summer – has not featured since the Champions League draw at Atalanta on November 2 after sustaining a thigh injury on international duty with France.

“Paul will be part of the group,” he said. “He might even be in the starting XI. There are still a couple of players missing out.

“Edi Cavani will only return on the weekend. He contacted me a week ago and asked me if he could have two more days at home and I allowed him because I knew that he couldn’t be in the starting XI anyway, with jetlag and only coming back (from South America) today or last night.

“He won’t be part of the group. Victor Lindelof has been ill the whole week and not training, so he will also miss tomorrow’s game.

“Eric Bailly came back yesterday. He has some problems with his ankle, a swollen ankle, and therefore will not be part of the squad for tomorrow. All the other players will be available.

“Luke (Shaw) will be back. He will probably play from the beginning because Alex Telles only came back last night and played on Wednesday for Brazil for 90 minutes.”