Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is confident over the long-term future of Jesse Lingard at Old Trafford after the 22-year-old midfielder signed a new deal with the Premier League giants just before his loan move to Derby County on transfer deadline day.
The Dutch boss handed Lingard a starting role as a right-sided wing-back – rather than in his favoured position in midfield – on the opening day of the season against Swansea City after the academy star impressed him during the pre-season tour of the US.
But he picked up an injury in the game against the Wales side that left him on the sidelines for the first half of the season and hampered his breakthrough into Van Gaal's starting line up.
Lingard recently returned to action with an impressive performance in the Under-21 Premier League win over Liverpool on 26 January.
But with a number of players in his position, the United manager opted to send him on loan to Derby so he could secure more playing time in the second part of the campaign, while getting back to match fitness.
However, Van Gaal says he still has Lingard in mind regarding next season as, just before departing to the Championship side, United secured his long-term future with a a new two-and-a-half year contract, with an option for another year.
"Jesse was desperately unfortunate to sustain a knee-ligament injury on his debut for the club on the opening day of the season," Van Gaal said to United Review.
"I have been impressed by Jesse's determination during his rehabilitation and it was pleasing to see him perform to such a high standard in his second match since last August [in the Under-21s' win over Liverpool]."
Meanwhile, Lingard hopes his experience in the Championship side helps him return to Old Trafford this summer as a better player.
"I want to play for Manchester United," the player said. "That is my main aim and by coming on loan to Derby, I have a great chance to continue to develop and help them achieve their dream of getting back to the Premier League and hopefully that will help me achieve mine as well."