Jesse Lingard has started four games for Manchester United this season

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has defended denying Jesse Lingard an Old Trafford farewell.

The 29-year-old, who joined United when aged seven, is set to leave the club when his contract runs out this summer.

“In the last couple of weeks under my tenure, he has played far more games than he used to,” said Rangnick.

“Secondly, on game day against Chelsea [on 28 April] he asked me to release him from the game and training the following day for personal family reasons.

“And this was the reason. With only three substitutes, I had to take a decision between Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard, or the young [Alejandro Garnacho], who I would have loved to have brought on and given a chance to play.”

Lingard has made 22 appearances for United this season, but only four of those have been starts.

Rangnick chose to bring on midfielder Fred, defender Phil Jones and striker Cavani instead of him during the 3-0 win over Brentford.

Afterwards, Lingard’s brother posted a furious message on social media complaining that after “20 years of blood, sweat and tears, four domestic trophies and three cup final goals” there was “not even a farewell” for the England midfielder.

Lingard himself was understood to be saddened by the situation.

“I took the decision to bring on Edinson. Had I not brought on Edinson, someone else might have asked if it’s classless not to bring on Cavani or Garnacho,” added Rangnick.

“You have to take a decision and this will not be to the liking of everybody and this is part of the game.”

United’s last two games of the campaign are away to Brighton and Crystal Palace.

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