Gary Neville believes Jesse Lingard’s role at Manchester United this season will be minimal and says he is “disappointed” the midfielder did not leave Old Trafford last month.
Lingard looked likely to make a permanent move to West Ham in the summer after his brilliant loan spell there last season.
The England man hit nine goals and grabbed four assists in 16 Premier League appearances after joining on loan in January.
West Ham were chasing a permanent move for the 28-year-old, but financially a deal is believed to have been out of their reach.
Man Utd’s hefty £30m valuation was understood to be a primary factor behind West Ham’s interest falling short.
But according to the Evening Standard, Lingard’s £120,000-per-week salary was another hurdle that prevented a breakthrough.
Nevertheless, with Lingard in the final year of his contract, the outlet suggest West Ham could yet land their man in a future window. Especially if Lingard refuses to sign a new contract.
That would leave United looking at Lingard leaving on a free transfer next summer.
But Neville believes Lingard should have been moved on.
“I would actually have thought that a couple more players at Manchester United [would have left]. I’m disappointed for Jesse Lingard that he’s not left Manchester United,” Neville told Sky Sports News on Wednesday.
“He’ll get a few games, he’ll get moments on the pitch, he’ll contribute, but I think he had something going at West Ham last year that meant Jesse Lingard in his own right was standing up as a really good player.
“To go back to being a squad player again I think, for me, is disappointing. I think you sometimes have to sort of fly the nest and go. I thought he’d already done that with what he did last year.
“So I think there’s two or three players that won’t get a lot of game time this year that could have joined Dan James and really furthered their careers and got more football.”
Dan James will suit Leeds
On the Wales man’s £25m transfer to Leeds United, he added: “I think it’s really good for Dan James. I think this is one of those where it’s a win-win. There’s no sadness for me in Dan James leaving because I think he came to United, he always did his very best. He was a massive threat on the counter-attack.
“But Manchester United have got a lot of players in those types of areas. And I think it’s really important for young players to go and play. And Leeds have always wanted him, they wanted him first time around when Manchester United got him.
“He’ll suit the way in which Leeds play. You think of the way Leeds play on the counter-attack with such speed, one-on-ones all over the pitch, he’ll love it there.
“The crowd there is a big crowd. They’re a club who demand a lot as well, so I think it’s a good thing for Man United to get the money that they’ve got. I think it’s a good thing for Dan James that he furthers his career at a good club.”