Neville ‘disappointed’ Man Utd star didn’t leave with James

Date published: Thursday 2nd September 2021 8:06 - Joe Williams

Gary Neville Man Utd

Gary Neville was “disappointed” that Jesse Lingard didn’t follow Dan James out of Man Utd on transfer deadline day.

James – who joined the Red Devils from Swansea two-and-a-half-years ago – left Old Trafford on Tuesday for Leeds in a £25m transfer.

Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is understood to have blocked four exits on deadline day but one was not thought to be Lingard as no club met their demands for the winger.


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Lingard was attracting interest from West Ham after spending a successful spell there on loan last season – but the Manchester Evening News revealed yesterday that ‘no club has been able to meet United’s £25m valuation of the playmaker’ this summer.

But Neville was frustrated that Lingard didn’t find a new club with the winger likely to be another squad player this season.

Neville told Sky Sports: “It’s really good for Dan James. It’s one of those where this is a win-win. He came to United and always did his very best, he was a massive threat on the counter-attack, but United have a lot of players in those areas.

“It’s really important for young players to go and play, and Leeds have always wanted him. They wanted him the first time round when United got him instead. He’ll suit the way they play with such pace on the counter-attack. He’ll love it there, the crowd’s a big crowd, a club that demands a lot.

“It’s a good thing for United to get the money they did, and good for Dan to further his career at a good club.

“I’m disappointed Jesse Lingard hasn’t left. He’ll get a few games but I think he had something going at West Ham that meant he was standing up as a really good player and to go back into being a squad player again, it’s disappointing. Sometimes you need to fly the nest and go.”

Cristiano Ronaldo joined on deadline day from Juventus and Neville reckons the new Man Utd signing is still a world-class player.

Neville added: “I don’t think United will have to adapt too much to his arrival. They have fantastic forward players, good creative players too, with Jadon Sancho wide, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, they should create plenty of chances for him.

“I love Edinson Cavani, so it’s a question of whether they can play either-or, or could they play both? Everyone, including me, is expecting him to play as a number nine but could he play just to the left of Cavani, with Greenwood or Sancho to the right? That would be a guarantee of goals.

“The performances so far, they’ve really struggled in their two away games, but they have a number of players who can go and win a match in a moment. His willingness and want to score goals is better than anyone. The big question is whether it’s enough to win the title. I don’t quite feel it is, the Premier League is the strongest it’s been since the mid-2000s.

“I think for Manchester United it’s an incredible addition to their squad, United did need a centre forward, but in terms of his physical aspect, he’s almost 28, 29, 30 when you look at him. People will look at a young Cristiano and think how he used to beat five or six players in wide areas, he’s now more efficient.

“If Cristiano Ronaldo of now was there eight years ago, he’d still be labelled a world-class player. His movement in the box, ability to score goals, composure in front of goal and taking chances still makes him world-class – and far from over the hill.”

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