Lingard told to stay at Man U because of Greenwood absence

Mason Greenwood’s suspension at Manchester United played a role in the club’s decision to keep Jesse Lingard until the end of the season, manager Ralf Rangnick said on Thursday.

Greenwood was arrested on Sunday and questioned on suspicion of the rape and assault of a woman. He was released on bail on Wednesday and United has said the 20-year-old forward “will not train with, or play for, the club until further notice.”

Lingard, who plays in a similar position to Greenwood, wanted to leave United before the end of the January transfer window in search of more playing opportunities. Newcastle and West Ham were reportedly interested in signing the England international.

Rangnick said United’s board changed its stance over Lingard.

“With the window closing Monday evening, in the afternoon the board informed me they would rather want him to stay,” the German coach said. “For me, that was a decision that I could fully understand and accept.

“So, it was two things. One thing was obviously that we had a problem with Mason Greenwood and being without a player for the time being that has played regularly in the last couple of weeks. And on the other hand, the club couldn’t find an agreement with any other club.”

Rangnick said Lingard asked for a couple of days off “to clear his head” and would therefore miss United’s match against Middlesbrough in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday.

Edinson Cavani will also be missing because he has been granted extended time off in his native Uruguay following its World Cup qualifiers but Paul Pogba could start after recovering from a groin injury.

The France midfielder has been out since November.

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