Former Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand has insisted Jesse Lingard needs to ‘close a chapter’ on his Manchester United career and leave the club at the end of the season.
Having failed to make a single Premier League appearance for the Red Devils this campaign, Lingard swapped Old Trafford for the London Stadium in a January loan deal.
The England international has already bagged three goals and an assist in his four league outings for the West Ham, and Ferdinand believes it’s time for the midfielder to move on from Manchester United.
“I spoke before about this and said I thought Jesse should close a chapter on Man Utd because he hasn’t been a part of the squad, he hasn’t been a part of the team for ages,” Ferdinand told his FIVE YouTube channel.
“You see the smile on his face now, the way he’s playing football, the confidence he seems to have. There’s a glint in his eye again that I haven’t seen for two years.
“How can he want to go back to being a bit-part player after tasting this? He’s fitted in straight away and I can’t see him wanting to go back to Man Utd where he’s going to have to play second fiddle to people.
“Because he will, he’ll have to play second fiddle to Bruno Fernandes in that position [in the hole], he’ll have to play second fiddle to anyone playing up front or wide.
“I’m not saying that he’s not good enough, I’m saying that’s what I’ve been shown from the selections of the team and the squads that have been picked. So going off that I would move, I would go on.”
It’s understood that Lingard’s loan move to West Ham doesn’t include an option to buy, meaning the midfielder could well return to Old Trafford in the summer.
However, Ferdinand doesn’t think the 28-year-old will be short of offers when his loan deal with the Hammers expires, and he believes his former teammate is massively underrated.
“I said before, a successful end of the season would be multiple clubs bidding for Jesse Lingard,” he added. “Where we stand right now, I think multiple clubs will bid for Jesse Lingard and he is going to have a choice of many clubs to go to other than just West Ham.
“Even a few of my pundit mates off camera have said ‘oh he’s not Man United [quality]’, I’ve always maintained that Jesse Lingard is a Man Utd player, a top-level footballer, a proper player.
“Proper footballer, plays off one touch, plays off two touch, always on the move, always gets into good positions and can score goals. And big goals at times he’s proved that.
“But the team has got to play the way that suits him and he needs that confidence as well. I spoke to Mark Noble the other day, the West Ham captain, and he said ‘I can’t believe Rio how good and impressed I am by this kid, the way he plays. I knew he was a good player, don’t get me wrong, but he’s surprised me by how good he is actually’.”