Cole explains how Lingard’s return can have "infectious" benefits for Man Utd

Andy Cole has backed Jesse Lingard's work rate to "become infectious" after he returned to Manchester United.

The midfielder found opportunities hard to come by during the early part of last season and was forced to head out on loan.

At West Ham Lingard was able to resdiscover his best form and has returned to United invigorated.

His efforts saw him return to the fold with England, after scoring nine times in 16 games for the Hammers.

Lingard has long been hailed as one of the fittest players in the United squad and continues to set the standard off the ball – something that will no doubt spur on his team-mates.

"Jesse has impressed me,” said Cole. “I think Jesse has come back with that bit between his teeth. He has got the goal, but it is not just about the goal – it is his work rate as well.

“I think his work rate can become infectious. He is putting himself about, getting in the right areas – and getting himself a goal as well.”

Lingard faces plenty of competition for a start at Old Trafford, especially now United have added Jadon Sancho.

The summer signing bolsters a forward line that already includes the likes of Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer though has been impressed by Lingard's desire to fight for his place in Manchester.

"He came seven or eight days later than the rest but he's a naturally fit boy," said the Norwegian recently.

"He's a man, he played with a few boys but he's one of the men!

"Jesse has come back, been bright, he wants to fight for his place and there's nothing better than seeing players want to fight for their place.

"What he did towards the end of last season, that's the true Jesse, that's what we know he's capable of. I think we saw towards the end of the season that we lacked some options at times, so Jesse is in the plans at the moment."

West Ham are keen to bring Lingard back to the London Stadium, but the player's wages and transfer fee may prove too costly.

United meanwhile are still looking to bolster their ranks with a move for Raphael Varane still in the pipeline.

The Real Madrid defender's contract is winding down and the Red Devils have discussed personal terms with the World Cup winner.

However the two clubs still need to agree a fee with Los Blancos seeking £50m.

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