Gary Neville has defended Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard’s recent social media activity but admitted that the 26-year old should know better when it comes to his behaviour.
Lingard has frequently recieved criticism for his activity on social media but came under scrutiny recently following a video of him and Manchester United teammates in Miami went viral.
Although many believe the video is setting a poor example to younger fans of the club, former United defender Neville feels that, despite his actions not being beneficial to his standing at the club, many criticising Lingard need to “get over it.”
“As a player, you have to ask yourself a few questions before doing anything, said Neville speaking at the Soccer Science Conference in Manchester, via Training Ground Guru
“Is it going to help me? Is it going to make me a better player? Is it going to make people feel better about me? Is it going to earn me money? Is it going to make my coach like me more or less?
“If the answers come up negative then it’s probably best not doing it.
“The idea of a guy going on social media, looking a bit of a prat while not winning football matches and not playing that well is a really bad cocktail.
“But then again, on the other side, he’s giving his all, he’s a young lad and social media is the modern form of media, so get over it.”
Neville continued by comparing the behaviour of players in the past who would drink too much and come back for pre-season overweight outlining that what Lingard was doing is a “lesser evil.”
“Jesse Lingard doesn’t drink a lot. Twenty years ago, somebody going on a holiday would have been bladdered for four weeks. What’s worse – a social media post where somebody’s having a bit of a joke, or getting bladdered for four weeks?
“You’d rather have your player being sober, probably training all day and having a joke with his mates.
“This is absolutely a lesser evil than we had 20 years ago when players would go off for five or six weeks and come back overweight.
“These players today run faster, they eat better, they drink less alcohol. They’re all running 13, 14km a match, some of them are running 1500m at high intensity and 20 years ago Gary Neville and his team-mates weren’t doing that.
“That’s why I retired, because I was seeing it in front of my own eyes, that I couldn’t get to that level any more.
“When we came through there was still a drinking culture Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday, every club was doing it. We stopped, we didn’t do it, and we won four out of our first five league titles purely based on fitness because the rest of the clubs were still drinking.