Gary Neville Talks Jesse Lingard's Social Media Activity Amid Fan Criticism

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Jesse Lingard of Manchester United takes the ball forward during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Cardiff City at Old Trafford on May 12, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has questioned Jesse Lingard's use of social media, although he believes the player's online videos are a "lesser evil".

Lingard has attracted some criticism from United supporters as of late because of the clips he's posted on Instagram of his holiday in Miami with team-mate Marcus Rashford. In one video, expletive language is used, and according to Matt Maltby of the Daily Mirror, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is "furious" about the posts.

Speaking about Lingard's social media activity, Neville said he was unsure whether it has any benefit to the player but said there are worse things a footballer could be doing during the summer, per Goal:

"Why would you do something that is potentially going to bring you criticism? As a player, you have to ask yourself a few questions before doing anything. Is it going to help me? Is it going to make me a better player? Is it going to make people feel better about me? Is it going to earn me money? Is it going to make my coach like me more or less?

"If the answers come up negative then it's probably best not doing it. The idea of a guy going on social media, looking a bit of a prat while not winning football matches and not playing that well is a really bad cocktail.

"But then again, on the other side, he's giving his all, he's a young lad and social media is the modern form of media, so get over it."

Neville added the social media posts are a "lesser evil" and that "you'd rather have your player being sober, probably training all day and having a joke with his mates."

The HLTCO Twitter account shared one of the videos Lingard posted on Twitter:


At this point, I can’t help but feel as though Jesse Lingard goes out of his way to annoy as many people as possible with the videos he uploads. He’s like your 5-year-old brother after they’ve had a family pack of Skittles. https://t.co/qMsLn31Sgl

United endured a challenging 2018-19 season. Former boss Jose Mourinho steered the team to their worst-ever Premier League start before he was sacked in December. Solskjaer enjoyed a fine start as his replacement, with United winning 14 of his first 17 games in charge, although the Red Devils were only able to finish sixth in the table after a torrid run of two wins from their final 12 games.

Lingard also struggled for long spells of the campaign, netting just four times in 29 Premier League appearances. Per Goal, United are said to be close to agreeing a new contract with the England international that will see his wages increase by 25 per cent.

Miguel Delaney of The Independent believes the clips indicate there is a lack of leadership at United:

Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney

Guardiola does not like his players being in papers for nonsense. Many prob are. Fergie the same. If there was football leadership at the club, they’d prob cut out one of their most identifiable playes rapping about a protein source.

Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette doesn't think Lingard will be concerned by the criticism ahead of what is a crucial pre-season for the Red Devils:

Rob Blanchette @_Rob_B

100%. Yet #MUFC fans are fuelled by pundits who want them to be upset by this type of inane stuff. Because hits and clicks and advertising. Anyway, I know Jesse & Marcus couldn't give a damn. So that's good. Get ready for a tough pre-season, lads. Time to step up. https://t.co/ejSEDIgnXt

Lingard will need to perform to a higher standard if he's to establish a spot in the United starting XI in 2019-20.

Not only does he have competition in the form of Rashford, Anthony Martial, Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata in the wide positions, but United recently signed Daniel James, who is an exciting young winger.