Manchester United halted Jesse Lingard’s January departure. Ralf Rangnick said Lingard would miss Friday’s FA Cup 4th-round match against Middlesbrough to ‘clear his mind,’ but the 29-year-old insists his ‘headspace is clear.’ Paul Pogba could make an injury comeback against Middlesbrough.
Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard Insists His ‘Headspace Is Clear’
Jesse Lingard believes his “headspace is fine” following Ralf Rangnick’s report that the striker requested time away from Manchester United to “clean his thoughts.”
On Friday, Lingard will be absent for Manchester United’s FA Cup fourth-round clash against Middlesbrough. He takes a break following the club’s board blocking him from moving in the January transfer window despite interest from Newcastle United and West Ham F.C.
“Jesse requested the club and me for a few days off to clear his head,” Rangnick stated at a press conference on Thursday. He’ll rejoin the group on Monday and rejoin the squad.”
Lingard afterward turned to Twitter to refute his manager’s remarks. “The club encouraged me to take time off for personal reasons!” he explained.
“However, my headspace is clear, and I will always be professional and give my all when called upon.”
Ralf Rangnick has been appointed temporary manager till the end of the season. Rangnick indicated that the issue surrounding Mason Greenwood had a role in retaining Lingard for the remainder of the season.
Mason Greenwood, detained on Sunday on suspicion of assault and rape, was freed on bail awaiting further investigation and is still suspended from Manchester United.
“Three weeks ago, Jesse was adamant about not leaving,” Rangnick explained. “Then he reversed his decision.
“I spoke with him around ten days ago and completely understood why he desired to depart to gain playing time, as well as for the World Cup.
“I told him at the time that if he found a team with whom he was interested in playing and the club reached an agreement with our side, I would allow him to leave.”
“Clearly, with all the happenings during the last couple of days, things have shifted slightly.”
“However, because we had no deal with any other team, we were forced to make a definitive decision with the management and opted to keep Jesse Lingard until the conclusion of the campaign.”
Paul Pogba Is Back for Manchester United Against Middlesbrough
Rangnick compared Lingard’s predicament to that of Paul labile Pogba, whom the interim manager has already claimed may be driven by the prospect of earning a new contract elsewhere.
The 28-year-old French midfielder is also out of contract with Man Utd this summer. Pogba is set to return to action on Friday following a three-month layoff due to a thigh injury.
“I’m relieved to have him back,” Rangnick remarked.
“His ideal position, in my opinion, is one of the central midfield positions – either an eight or a 10 – but with the way we are presently playing, I like to see him in the eight.
“True, we’ll have to wait and see. It is now up to him. His contract is up in the summer, and regardless of whether he chooses to stay or go somewhere, he must show up.
“It is not just in our club’s interest, but also in his personal interest, that he plays and performs at his best level in the coming weeks.”
Paul Pogba might make his FA Cup debut against Middlesbrough on Friday. When asked whether he was suggesting or even pressing the club to re-sign Pogba, Rangnick responded: “We haven’t discussed it at all thus far – not only Paul’s situation but also the situation of other players whose contracts expire in the summer. Additionally, we have not discussed new players thus far.”
“As I previously stated, my emphasis is now on playing the greatest possible season and being as successful as possible. And for Paul, it is in his own best interests to perform at a high level, have a strong performance, and do all necessary to earn a place in the first XI”.
“This will not occur automatically due to the presence of other players in that region. Fred has been doing well in the weeks since my arrival. We decreased the number of goals conceded.”
“It is all up to him. It is up to the players to select who will start. Although the organization has shrunk in size, it remains powerful and competitive to succeed.”