JESSE LINGARD is one of the favourites to replace crocked Trent Alexander-Arnold in England's 26-man squad for Euro 2020 but Nigel Winterburn is not surprised he missed the cut first time around.
The 28-year-old shone on loan at Winterburn's old club West Ham last season and the former left-back cannot fathom why he'd want to sign for anyone else if he decides to leave Manchester United this summer.
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Lingard's £100,000-a-week United contract still has a year to run and he is said to want a four-year deal on the same wages if he is to walk away from his boyhood club this summer.
After signing on loan in January, he scored nine goals and provided five assists in 16 games for the Irons as they qualified for the Europa League by finishing sixth – their highest final league position this millennium.
Lingard's form saw him force his way back into Gareth Southgate's England squad with many tipping him to be a surprise inclusion in the final 26-man group once it was whittled down from 33.
But he narrowly missed out with Bukayo Saka and the fourth right-back – one of Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James – generally considered to have taken his spot.
Despite his sparkling form, Lingard's exclusion came as no shock to two-cap ex-Three Lions left-back Winterburn, 57, who said: "I didn’t think Lingard would make the cut with the type of players England have in their squad and I’m not surprised he missed out."
Lingard and Southampton's James Ward-Prowse are the two most likely stars to replace Alexander-Arnold who pulled out of the tournament with the thigh injury he picked up against Austria on Wednesday.
But regardless of whether the Man Utd academy product does make the cut, Winterburn expects expects Lingard's former West Ham team-mate Declan Rice to feature far more.
The ex-Arsenal man added via FreeSuperTips: "I think if England want to play with a more attacking flair, then Rice could find himself on the bench, but if Southgate wants defensive stability then I'd imagine he'd play."
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Man Utd have been linked with a summer transfer for Rice with some reports even suggesting Lingard could be used in a swap deal for the 22-year-old.
But Winterburn reckons Three Lions ace Rice will stay put because of the Hammers' European qualification and doesn't know why Lingard would even consider another team if he does leave Old Trafford.
He said: "I would think there are a few people looking at Rice, but he could be happy with European football at West Ham.
"I wouldn't think he's trying to force a move away and I think he could quite easily stay at West Ham.
"Lingard is a little different because he's a Manchester United player. He looked like someone going nowhere but he's been sensational at West Ham.
"I think there's a conversation to be had at Man Utd as to whether he'd fit back into their plans.
"If not, he's had this success at West Ham, so I don't know why he'd want to sign elsewhere.
"He knows the club, so I think West Ham would be favourites to sign him."
CHILWELL OVER SHAW
Winterburn played 91 games for the East Londoners between 2000 and 2003 after 13 years at Arsenal.
He retired at the end of the 02-03 season after the Hammers were relegated.
The former Birmingham, Oxford United and Wimbledon man won just two England caps – with his international career mostly thwarted by current West Ham coach – and former player – Stuart Pearce's dominance of the England left-back slot.
He played just twice for the Three Lions – coming off the bench in 1989 and then again in 1993.
Unlike during Winterburn's career, England's No 1 left-back is far from decided going into this summer's major tournament with Chelsea's Ben Chilwell and Man Utd's Luke Shaw vying for the starting spot.
Shaw has played the best football of his career this season while Chilwell won the Champions League with the Blues.
And Winterburn points to Chelsea's European glory when picking Chilwell to start ahead of Shaw for England's curtain raiser against Croatia on Sunday June 13.
He said: "I wouldn't mind if either of them played, but if I'm to pick one I'd go Chilwell just based on the feel-good factor.
"He's been in great form and Chelsea had an unbelievable finish to the season, so I'd go that way.
"The question is whether Southgate goes with four or five at the back and if he prefers one of the other based on the system.
"[Bukayo] Saka is another player who could equally play in that position, so England have some good options there."
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