“If I were Jesse Lingard I would rather make 15 Premier League starts for Manchester United than play an entire season for West Ham.”
A huge debate has arisen on talkSPORT, with former Premier League aces Carlton Cole and Jamie O’Hara discussing Lingard’s Old Trafford dilemma.
Lingard thrived for West Ham on a six-month loan spell last season, scoring nine goals in 16 appearances as the Hammers sealed their qualification for the Europa League.
The east London club want to sign him permanently but are reluctant to pay the £ 40million United are demanding.
But it looks like they might not have the chance to sign him anyway, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirming last weekend that the England international is in his plans for the 2021/22 campaign.
The question is whether Lingard will get the regular role he wants, or whether he will be a full player at Old Trafford again.
Debating on talkSPORT Breakfast, O’Hara, who has made 56 appearances for Tottenham, argued that playing less at a bigger club means more.
But Cole, who struggled for playing time at Chelsea before becoming a key figure for the Hammers – where he is now a fan favorite and club ambassador – believes Lingard would be better off as a ‘main man’ at the stadium. London.
Jesse Lingard – The debate
O’Hara: “You look at Jesse Lingard. He went to West Ham, used them a bit as a platform to resume play and potentially come back to the England squad.
“He did, but he didn’t make it into the Euro squad – but he showed Manchester United that he is still a top player and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now said that he was in his plans. “
Cole: “He didn’t say he was in his plans. He is still suspicious whether he is in his plans or not.
“Jadon Sancho, if he comes in, is he going to be in his plans then?”
O’Hara: “But Lingard is playing like a ten.”
Cole: “He also has Bruno in front of him and Rashford is there.
“He should go and be the main man somewhere.” He succeeded, why would he want to change that and be a full actor? “
O’Hara: “But it’s Manchester United!”
Cole: “He must be the main man somewhere and have ambition.”
O’Hara: “I made this mistake when I left Tottenham wanting to be the main man.
“It worked for Lingard when he went to West Ham, but I think when you leave a big club – like United – it’s very difficult to come back to the top level.”
Cole: “But do you want to come back to that level if you’re the main man somewhere?”
O’Hara: “Of course you do. You want to be a top player at the top level.
Cole: “If you do your job week after week somewhere, you will be on top.
“Do you know what’s going on with football clubs? If you don’t buy into yourself as a young player, you will always be that young player.
“Sometimes it’s good to be bought somewhere because they’ve invested in you and believe in you and then one day you never know, you might be the main man of a big top four club.”
O’Hara: “He went to West Ham, did great things and showed Solskjaer that he can still play at the highest level. He believes in himself – which you can’t hit for that matter – and has shown he’s still good enough to play for United.
“But if I’m Lingard, I’d rather play 15 Premier League starts for Manchester United and then 38 for West Ham.”
Cole: “Well you say that, big argument, but there is a World Cup coming up and he needs to play matches.
“He narrowly missed the Euro team. He can’t afford to play just 15 games right now as he has to show he’s the main man and what he can do.