Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has revealed that he sees Jesse Lingard as being more effective when played in a central role.
Lingard has been deployed in that position in United’s last two games in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool before the 1-0 win over Manchester City in the derby on Sunday.
Having impressed, it appears as though the versatile 23-year-old will be given more playing time through the middle despite being shifted across to the right later in the game against City.
“Yes, that is why I have put him there, but sometimes also I need a right winger who is fast,” Van Gaal told the club’s official website.
“It’s also dependent on the opponent and the game plan but I think Jesse is more of a midfielder than a right winger. He played there two times very well.”
Given Juan Mata’s presence in the squad, it remains to be seen who gets the nod out of the duo as the Spaniard has been more effective when played centrally too.
Having struggled to make an impact when played out of position on the right at times, the former Chelsea star will hope that it isn’t a more permanent move despite Lingard seemingly relishing and taking full advantage of the opportunity.
United’s win on Sunday ensured that they moved to within a point of City who occupy the fourth and final spot to qualify for the Champions League.
As a result, with plenty left on the line in the remaining eight games of the campaign, Van Gaal will need to find a balance in his side whether it is Mata or Lingard playing in behind the main striker.
Whether that sees the pair interchange during games remains to be seen, but van Gaal will also be keen to allow Lingard’s development to continue and that would mean allowing him to play where he is producing his better performances.