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Lingard 'honoured' to be handed Man United captaincy for Europa League trip

The England international will wear the armband against Astana this afternoon.

Jesse Lingard.
Jesse Lingard.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

JESSE LINGARD SAYS taking the Manchester United captaincy for a Europa League clash with Astana will be a “massive honour”.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that the England international will be thrown the armband today (3.50pm).

A product of the Red Devils’ famed academy system is flattered to have been given the chance to lead the club he supported as a boy.

Promotion into a leadership role has been achieved at 26 years of age, with Lingard set to be one of the more experienced heads on show when United return to continental competition.

“It’s a massive honour,” Lingard told MUTV. “I said at the start of the season I’d like to be more of a leader type of person, on and off the field. You know, being one of the most senior players in the squad. Now is the perfect time to show that.”

Solskjaer added: “Jesse will be captain. He’s a really good character in this group. He’s had his challenges over the last few months but he’s coming back into his own now.”

Lingard will be expected to lead by example against Astana, with a number of senior debuts set to be handed out by United.

Solskjaer has already confirmed that Di’Shon Bernard, Ethan Laird and Dylan Levitt will be making their competitive bows, while Max Taylor, who was battling cancer a year ago, is set to be involved.

kazakhstan-soccer-europa-league Max Taylor (centre) training with the squad at the Nur-Sultan stadium last night. Source: AP/PA Images

United have also given minutes to the likes of Brandon Williams, Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong this season, while teenager striker Mason Greenwood has become a regular in the first-team fold.

Lingard has no concerns regarding the ability of an exciting crop of youngsters, with their potential clear for all to see.

He added: “I know them inside out and they train with us, pretty much every day. You see the talent every day and hopefully they can show it out there.”

United have been able to ring the changes as their place in the last 32 of the Europa League is already secured, but Lingard says there will be no letting up in what has become a dead rubber.

He said: “I know we’ve pretty much qualified but, for the mentality, we know we need to win the game.

“That’s how we’re going to prepare for it. I’ve been around a lot of the youngsters and you’ve got to lead the way, set an example and be a role model and I’ll try to do that.”

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