Gareth Southgate delivers glowing verdict on Man United midfielder

The interim England manager was impressed with Jesse Lingard's debut against Malta

Gareth Southgate has hailed Jesse Lingard’s outstanding England debut.

The interim head coach handed the Manchester United midfielder his first Three Lions start for the visit of Malta in their 2018 World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Saturday evening.

England eased to a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge and Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Dele Alli in the first half at the home of English football.

Lingard has managed to remain a regular fixture in the United team despite the appointment of Jose Mourinho as Louis van Gaal’s successor after the Dutch coach gave the midfielder his big chance at Old Trafford.

And interim England manager Southgate, who coach Lingard at Under-21 level, wasn’t surprised to see the United star excel in the national team after his impressive debut on Saturday evening.

“Jesse had an outstanding debut, he really linked the play well and looked a real threat,” Southgate told his post-match media conference.

“That’s why we wanted to give him the start – he’s got a real strong mentality, he’s an exciting young player and the stage was made for him really.

“He’s enjoyed Wembley – he’s scored twice here in the past for Manchester United and he had a very good game.”

Lingard and his United team-mates will make the trip to bitter rivals Liverpool in their next Premier League game on Monday 17 October.

The Red Devils are in sixth place in the top-flight table.

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