Pundit Joe Cole believes that Jesse Lingard “may not even be at his peak” at 28 years of age, amid his excellent displays for West Ham.
Indeed, a move away from Old Trafford is just what the Englishman needed to get his career back on track. Lingard had become frozen out in Manchester, suffering a drop in stature since his appearances at the 2018 World Cup.
However, he has scored three goals and assisted two others since his move down south. In fact, he notched his second assist in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City.
Speaking before the game at the Etihad Stadium, Cole piled praise on the midfielder.
“I’ve always been a fan of Jesse. He’s lost his way in the last few years,” the pundit told BT Sport.
“Some fault will go to the managers not fancying him but this is what he brings to this club.
“David Moyes alluded to it – he can play in three or four positions, very much like Phil Foden. He finds space well.
“He’s found a club where they’ll love a player like him – hard-working, hustle and bustle, but also with quality and the ability.”
Lingard is one of several English midfielders looking to earn a place at Euro 2020; Phil Foden, James Maddison and Jack Grealish are among those also staking claims.
But despite being 28 – the point in a player’s career which is regarded as their prime – Cole insisted that Lingard’s lack of action means he could still have more to offer.
Lingard may not have reached peak
“David alluded to the fact that when he was at Manchester United as a youngster, he saw the talent, and that sticks with you as a manager,” the pundit added.
“He’s going to be looking at him and thinking: ‘I can get him back to his best’.
“And his very best was playing number 10 for England. We must not forget that but he’s 28 now, he needs to play. He hasn’t played enough games in his career, so he may not even be at his peak.
“He’s at the right club, he’s got to look at the players around him and think: ‘We can do something here’.”