WHEN Jesse Lingard posted a congratulatory tweet to boxer Anthony Crolla on Monday he had to duck to avoid the barrage of verbal blows that came his way.
And that was from Manchester United fans releasing their ire against a player who used to light up games.
How has it come to this for a player who struck that brilliant 2016 FA Cup winner?
The solo goal in the 2-1 Community Shield victory over Leicester City the following August and another at Wembley in the EFL Cup triumph over Southampton in 2017.
He didn’t do normal goals, they were invariably spectacular.
Like in November 2017 when he ran two thirds of the length of the Vicarage Road pitch before slotting the ball home to seal victory away at Watford.
That began a run of eight goals in ten games.
There was also that brilliant solo goal away to Middlesbrough in March 2017 when he ran half the length of the field before planting a shot into the top right hand corner.
His form earned England recognition and he started each of the five key games Gareth Southgate’s men played in the 2018 World Cup Finals.
What a player United had on their hands…had.
Now he can’t get in the England squad or nail down a place in the Manchester United team.
When Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster came forward to have a header brilliantly saved in the last seconds of their game against Chelsea on Saturday he had recorded one more attempt on target this season than Lingard.
Lingard has had four shots in his eight league appearances , none on target.
This has not been a short term problem.
Going back ten months to 30 December last year he has played in 29 games for United and recorded one goal and one assist.
Indeed the only things he has made headlines for he would probably have rather not.
Like when he made a questionable foul mouthed social media video posted from holiday in Miami in the summer, which included one of his friends simulating sex with a pillow.
Oh, and his clothing brand ‘JLings’ lost £200,000 in it’s first year of operating.
While his best friend Marcus Rashford tries to keep his head down, Lingard’s tends to come above the parapet too often.
That’s ok when things are going well on the pitch but right now they are not and Lingard seems to be suffering more than most during United’s troubles.
At 26, and with 180 appearances for the club plus 24 caps, he should be one of the players others in the side are looking to for inspiration.
He is someone who likes to have a laugh and remains very popular at the club for that sense of fun but he has not looked happy on the pitch for some time.
That’s when he gets on it.
On Saturday in the miserable 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth it was as a 68th minute sub for Andreas Pereira who has assumed a number ten role ahead of him.
Daniel James is also on the team sheet before Lingard and many would prefer to see Mason Greenwood given more time than him too.
When a note was handed to Lingard by Solskjaer after he had come on at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday it left an open goal for suggestions on social media as to what was written on it, non of them terribly kind.
Lingard worked hard to get to the top.
He went on loan spells to Leicester, Birmingham, Brighton and Derby as Sir Alex held him back from United’s first team until he felt the time was right due to his smaller frame.
He worked his way up through the England ranks from under-17 to under-21 to the first team.
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His star was bright but is now hidden behind the dark clouds that have engulfed Old Trafford.
“Jesse Lingard is going to be some player.” The words of Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2012.
It remains to be seen if he can be again.