Maybe this is a love letter to Jesse Lingard. Maybe you should deal with that.
If you’d told me two years ago, maybe even last year, that I’d be penning words of appreciation about the little brat from Warrington I’d have laughed in your face.
Because I have gone full circle with Lingard and I’m sorry for ever doubting him.
We need to cherish him. Wrap him up in cotton wool. Knight him for his services to his country.
Lingard is one of a kind.
He triggers and unsettles a certain brand of football fan, the same fans who don’t subscribe to the concept of playing the game with a smile on your face.
Ronaldinho was the original class clown but Lingard has picked up where the brilliant Brazilian left off.
At the Emirates on Friday night he actually moonwalked with studs on. What sorcery is that?
No wonder the Arsenal groundsman retired just days later, his pièce de résistance ridiculed in front of the biggest UK television audience of the season.
Tagging ‘Dancefloor’ as his location on Instagram? Now that’s the kind of pettiness we can all get behind.
In a world dominated generally by media trained zombies, Lingard is a wonderful cocktail of fun and care-free excellence.
He is just as quirky on the field as he is off it, justifying his social media antics with consistent performances for Ole Gunnar Solskaer’s flying Red Devils.
The 26-year-old gels the worlds of fandom and celebrity together, always creating time for his supporters and producing unforgettable moments – like that Milly Rock – that will be talked about for years to come.
He might not be as ‘cool’ as Hector Bellerin or Daniel Sturridge, but there’s a smart head on his shoulders that knows how to maximise his image.
From his YouTube channel to his clothing range, the Lingard brand is going from strength to strength.
He’s also ensuring that, despite lacking the natural ability of some of his team-mates, he remains box office and a major pull factor.
Less than 16 hours after demolishing Arsenal, Lingard was on the Soccer AM sofa honouring a pact he made with the show’s producers.
He missed a car park penalty that initially cost AFC Wimbledon fans £500, so reimbursed them, cash in hand, instead.
The day the game is entirely consumed by straight edged, beige conformists will be a sad day for football.
Never change Jesse.
And that’s coming from a Liverpool fan who is programmed to loathe everything about United.
It feels wrong, but also feels so right too.
- Alexis Sanchez leaves Mesut Ozil in the dark in showdown of the alienated
- Jose Mourinho completely made up a position for Jesse Lingard last night
- The rise of Victor Lindelof is the biggest success story of Man United’s season