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Gary Neville downplays furore over Jesse Lingard video

The Manchester United star has been criticised recently over his use of social media.

Manchester United attacker Jesse Lingard.
Manchester United attacker Jesse Lingard.

GARY NEVILLE HAS questioned Jesse Lingard’s decision to upload an expletive-ridden video to social media and claimed former club Manchester United lack authoritative figures in the dressing room.

Lingard caused controversy earlier this week for his Snapchat story while on holiday in Miami with team-mate Marcus Rashford and former United defender Ro-Shaun Williams.

The 26-year-old was criticised for his inappropriate language in the clip, which showed him walking around his unkempt apartment, and he has reportedly been warned about his behaviour by United.

But while criticising modern-day players for their use of social media, Neville acknowledged the current crop are more professional than ever on the field. 

When I watch Jesse Lingard play I always think he works really hard,” Neville said at the Soccer Science Conference in Manchester. “But 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. We all make mistakes and I’ve made loads of them.

“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.”

He added: “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.

These players today run faster, they eat better, they drink less alcohol. They’re all running 13, 14 kilometres a match, some of them are running 1500m at high intensity and 20 years ago Gary Neville and his team-mates weren’t doing that.

“That’s why I retired, because I was seeing it in front of my own eyes, that I couldn’t get to that level anymore.

“Jesse Lingard doesn’t drink a lot. 20 years ago, somebody going on a holiday would have been bladdered for four weeks. What’s worse – a social media post where somebody’s having a bit of a joke or getting bladdered for four weeks?”

Lingard featured 36 times in all competitions last season as United finished sixth in the Premier League and endured another trophyless campaign.

And Neville, who made over 600 appearances during his two decades at Old Trafford, believes a big part of his old club’s ongoing problems is a lack of leadership.

“When I was playing, you always had three groups – the guardians, the middle group and the younger ones,” he said.

When I started in the first team, there were players like Paul Ince and Roy Keane and one bad pass was regarded as an absolute crime.

“Manchester United doesn’t have the guardians now. Absolutely not, no. There are some good professionals, Juan Mata for instance, Ander Herrera, when he was there, and Scott McTominay — you can see he’s a good lad and wants to play football.

“But I don’t think they carry the influence in the dressing room to be able to dominate the culture and that’s a real problem.

“In any business, in any football team, if the guardians in the dressing room, the ones who have the influence, are not setting the example, then you have a big problem and have to clear them out.

“I’ve referred to it as Japanese knotweed — when it starts to grow it needs a real aggressive approach. If you think of when Sir Alex Ferguson was there, he cut it out straight away, got rid of it.”

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