Despite recent bright performances, Michael Owen was baffled by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to leave Jesse Lingard out of the starting lineup.
Manchester United failed to go on top of the Premier League table after suffering a 1-1 draw to Everton at Old Trafford. Anthony Martial’s first-half striker was cancelled out by the in-form Andros Townsend in the second period, as the Red Devils failed to find a late winner.
Questions were raised over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team selection after the manager dropped Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba to the bench and started with Martial and Edinson Cavani instead. While the forward repaid his inclusion with a goal, the manager was still criticised for not playing some other in-form players.
While Ronaldo and Pogba might have been a bit weary after a run of many games in the last few weeks, many were baffled by the exclusion of Jesse Lingard. In recent weeks, the attacking midfielder has found form, scoring the winner against West Ham United and creating the late goal for the Portuguese against Villarreal in midweek.
Michael Owen has questioned Solskjaer’s intent with the selection fracas, particularly the decision to leave Lingard. Speaking to BT Sport after the game, The Metro put out some long comments from Owen regarding his view on the Lingard situation against Everton.
Owen said, “I can’t believe Jesse Lingard’s not… I thought he’d start today. I thought Cavani and Lingard would start. They made a big impact when they came on (against Villarreal). I couldn’t believe it in midweek when he only got six minutes at the end of the game and still made a huge impact. Every time he steps on the pitch for Manchester United, he makes something happen.
“He either scores or assists or does something. I thought it’s only a matter of time before he gets a start. I thought it would be today. When they are struggling, I thought he’d be one of the first players to come on.
“He’s setting himself up for a problem, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, because if you’re going to rest so many big-hitters, then all of a sudden you’re going to be leaving one or two players on the bench who either should be starting or should be coming on to change a game.
“So when you leave Pogba on the bench, Ronaldo on the bench, Sancho on the bench, you feel obliged after spending fortunes on these types of players you’re obliged to bring them on first when I thought Jesse Lingard was one of the most obvious ones.’