A stunning statistic has revealed just how much Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard has improved this season. During the 2017/18 campaign, the 25-year-old has scored on eleven occasions - which is more than his tally for the entirety of the previous two seasons put together.
In previous campaign, the much-maligned player has often beentargeted by fans for his anonymous performances on the pitch - becoming more famous for his exploits on social media than his footballing abilities. However, the stat revealed by Opta Joe's Twitter shows just how far the England international has come this season.
11 - Jesse Lingard has scored 11 goals in all competitions for Manchester United this season - as many as he scored in 2015/16 and 2016/17 combined. Talent. pic.twitter.com/Ft3R3Ovsuu— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 5, 2018
United has endured a season of mixed fortunes, as their inconsistent run of form has seen them fall off their local rivals Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title. José Mourinho's side are riding high in second place, but face the challenge of overhauling a huge 15-point gap between them and Pep Guardiola's unbeaten league leaders.
Lingard scored late on to give the Red Devils a 1-0 lead over Derby County in last night's FA Cup third round victory over the Rams, before Romelu Lukaku sealed the win in the dying moments of the game. England boss Gareth Southgate is an admirer of Lingard's talents, and could well take the United youth academy graduate to the World Cup in Russia this summer.
After scoring another crucial goal against Everton in the Premier League earlier in the week, Lingard pulled out a 'shush' celebration, which was believed to be aimed at the Sun newspaper for publishing a story claiming he had cheated on his girlfriend. United fans will be hoping that the player can maintain his fine form without his personal life effecting his footballing quality.
United will now enjoy a welcome break ahead of their next Premier League fixture on January 15th, when they play host to Mark Hughes' struggling Stoke City. With hopes of winning the league title dwindling rapidly, Mourinho could well turn his focus to the Champions League, where his side will face Sevilla in the knockout round of 16 in February.