Manchester United’s ‘great servant’ Jesse Lingard deserved a chance to bid farewell to Old Trafford on Monday night, according to Dimitar Berbatov.
Lingard’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season and, having featured rarely for United this season, is expected to leave the club. The 29-year-old was named on the bench for the visit of Brentford earlier this week, a game which would be United’s last at home of the campaign and had to watch as the likes of Edinson Cavani, who is also set to leave, come on as he remained unused.
On Friday, Ralf Rangnick defended his decision not to pick Lingard, telling reporters: “To start with, I think in the last couple of weeks under my tenure he has played far more games than he used to before I came. Number two: on game day against Chelsea he contacted me in the hotel and asked me to release him from the game and to also release him from the training session the following day and two days after the Chelsea game for personal family reasons, and I also allowed him to do that.
ALSO READ: Gary Neville hits back at critics of Ralf Rangnick after Jesse Lingard decision
“And this was the reason with only three subs, unfortunately – in the other leagues you have five subs – I had to make a decision between bringing on Edinson Cavani or Jesse Lingard, or even the young Alejandro Garnacho, whom I would have loved to have brought on and given a chance after going 3-0 up with 15 minutes to play. But I took the decision to bring on Edinson for the very reasons I just explained to you.”
However, Berbatov believes that Lingard should have been given a chance to play in a red shirt for the last time at Old Trafford. Speaking to Betfair, the former United striker said: “Jesse Lingard has been at the club for such a long time, it feels like a lifetime and it’s sad to see the current situation to be honest.
“It doesn’t matter that he hasn’t been a main feature of the team recently, he’s been a great servant of the club and he deserved time on the pitch in the last home game of the season, he deserved his chance to say goodbye to Old Trafford and the fans.Sometimes football can be very cruel, unfortunately s— like this happens all the time in football.
“Now, it’s all a matter of where he is going to go next. He needs to find a new challenge, there is no point sitting there and getting a few minutes here and there.
“He needs to go and look for something else, we saw how good he was at West Ham. It was a mistake that he didn’t stay there.
“I hope he has a good agent and he already has something lined up. He has football in him, he did a great job for the Hammers, he needs a challenge and to get out of his comfort zone, which has been Man United for so many years now.”
We want your views, Reds. You can become even more involved with our Man United coverage by signing up. This will unlock a whole host of things – including joining the comments and taking part in our special Q&As, where you can speak directly to our reporters about what’s happening at Old Trafford this week and beyond.
Click here to get started.
Sign up to our United newsletter so you never miss an update from Old Trafford this season.