Lingard hits back at Rangnick’s claim over time

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Jesse Lingard has hit back at Ralf Rangnick’s claim that he asked for time off to clear his head after seeing a January move blocked by Manchester United.

The 29-year-old attacking midfielder is out of contract this summer and has been the subject of much speculation.

Newcastle, West Ham – where he excelled on loan last season – and Tottenham were among the suitors, but the club decided to keep Lingard until the end of the season.

Rangnick has revealed the frustrated England international has since been granted a short time off and will miss Friday’s FA Cup fourth round tie against Middlesbrough.

But Lingard says it was the club’s decision to give him time and he is ready to play if called up.

He said on Twitter: “The club advised me to take time off for personal reasons!

“But my headspace is clear and I will always be professional when called upon and I will give 100 per cent.”

The interim United boss said earlier: “He asked me and the club if we could give him a few days off just to clear his mind.

“He’ll be back in the squad I guess next Monday, back for training and then be an integral part of the whole squad again.”

Rangnick revealed Mason Greenwood’s absence was partly behind the decision to keep Lingard on for the rest of the campaign.

“Three weeks ago Jesse didn’t want to leave,” Rangnick said. “Then he changed his mind.

“I had a conversation with him about ten days ago and I could fully understand why he wanted to leave to have playing time for his future, also for the World Cup.

“I told him at the time in case he finds a club where he likes to play and the club also finds a solution with our club, I will let him go, I will allow him to go.

“Obviously with all the developments we’ve had over the past few days, things have changed a bit.

“On the other hand, we also didn’t have an agreement with another club, so at some point we had to make a final decision with the board and we instead decided to keep Jesse until ‘at the end of the season.

United will be without a number of players when Boro arrives at Old Trafford on Friday, but Rangnick has confirmed Paul Pogba is set to return from his three-month injury layoff.

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