"He wants to play football" - Ole Gunnar Solskjær drops hint over Manchester United future of Sheffield United target Jesse Lingard

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has appeared to drop a thinly-veiled hint over the Manchester United future of forward Jesse Lingard, who has been targeted by Sheffield United in a loan swoop in the current transfer window.

Monday, 18th January 2021, 6:00 pm

The England international emerged on Chris Wilder's Bramall Lane wishlist as he searches for some much-needed invention as his side battle to survive in the Premier League.

Lingard is only 28, but has not started a top-flight game for the Red Devils in over a year. Solskjær's employers recently triggered a contract extension tying him to Old Trafford for a further year, but it is understood that that was activated with the intention of selling the forward rather than risk losing him for free.

"Jesse is part of our group," Solskjær said.

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"Of course we have not seen the best of Jesse, we’ve not seen a lot of Jesse this season, for different reasons.

"He has got a year and a half left on his contract, I speak to Jesse more or less every day so our communication is really good.

"He works really hard in training and he is ready for his chances when they come and we just take it from there."

Lingard was understood to be initially reluctant to move to a club entrenched in relegation trouble, although - as The Star reported earlier this week - United remain confident of securing his services on loan after the player's representatives reassured him that joining Wilder's side would not prevent him securing a high-profiile move in the summer.

Manchester United's English midfielder Jesse Lingard is a target for Sheffield United: MARTIN MEISSNER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

"I can’t really speak for Jesse and what we have spoken about but of course Jesse wants to play football," Solskjær added.

"He is a good player when he plays football at his best so let’s see what will happen."

Wilder was again unable to name a full complement of substitutes against Spurs, with no midfielders on the bench.

The United manager, whose side face Solskjær's men in their next league clash after Saturday's FA Cup tie at home to Plymouth, has also targeted a left centre-half to replace the injured Jack O'Connell.

“We’re squeezing everything out of these lads," Wilder admitted. "But a lot of them look tired and leggy and, as you can see, we don’t have the numbers at the moment.”