Jonty Banks takes a look at how the season has got started for a selection of Warrington's professional footballers...

AFTER his hugely successful loan spell at West Ham United, Jesse Lingard has found game time hard to come by under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the 2021/22 season.

The former Penketh United junior has just five appearances, all from the bench, but has looked bright whenever called upon.

His 89th minute winner against West Ham sealed a crucial three points for United, as Longford-born Lingard finished off a quality team move.

With another goal against Newcastle, Lingard is making a strong claim for a position in the starting XI, and with Manchester United’s recent struggles in the league it wouldn’t be a surprise to see his name on the team sheet once again.

Former Warrington youth player Josh Brownhill has been a mainstay in the Burnley midfield this season, starting eight of his side's opening nine league fixtures.

Although Burnley are still yet to win this season, sitting 18th with four points, Brownhill’s form has been an encouraging sign for Claret’s manager Sean Dyche.

Warrington Guardian: Josh Brownhill, right, defending against Tottenham. Picture: PA WireJosh Brownhill, right, defending against Tottenham. Picture: PA Wire

Brownhill, formerly of Birchwood Community High, has become a key asset to Dyche in the 2021/22 season as although preferring central midfield, his ability to play on the right-hand side of Burnley’s 4-4-2 has resulted in more game time for the 25-year-old.

His 50th appearance for the clarets last month against Norwich indicated the increasing value which he holds at the club.

Stoke City duo James Chester and Tommy Smith have had differing fortunes this season, as the Potters continue their successful start to the season.

Ex-Helsby high student Tommy Smith has been in superb form since moving to his new wing back role. With four assists already this season, Smith has been a key source of creativity for Michael O’Neill’s side.

Warrington Guardian: Tommy Smith, right, against Swansea City. Picture: PA WireTommy Smith, right, against Swansea City. Picture: PA Wire

Although he was given the marching orders for a clumsy challenge on Claudio Gomes against Barnsley last month, he continues to impress in the Championship.

James Chester struggled for consistent minutes at the beginning of the season, appearing just five times for O’Neill’s side before October.

Chester, who started his footballing career at Winwick Athletic has had to bide his time making his first league start in late September against Hull City.

Warrington Guardian: James Chester, left, chasing back for Stoke City. Picture: PA WireJames Chester, left, chasing back for Stoke City. Picture: PA Wire

However, in recent weeks the 32-year-old has solidified his position at centre-back, starting in the Potters' last four fixtures, keeping two clean sheets.

Adam Davies, formerly of Great Sankey High School, has recently fought his way into Stoke City’s starting XI with clean sheets in their victories over Hull and high-fliers West Brom.

The 29-year-old, who was born in Rinteln, Germany, but moved to Warrington at a young age, started the season as an understudy to Josef Bursik, only featuring in a handful of cup matches.

However, in recent weeks the ex-Barnsley shot stopper has been in fierce competition for the number one jersey, starting six of the side’s past 10 fixtures.

All eyes will be on O’Neill in the coming weeks as the boss looks to find a permanent solution to his goalkeeping dilemma.

Warrington born midfielder David Brooks recently revealed he has been diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin Lymphoma.

The Cherries 24-year-old star withdrew from the most recent Wales squad because of illness, before confirming the news through a statement on his social media platforms.

Warrington Guardian: David Brooks. Picture: PA WireDavid Brooks. Picture: PA Wire

Numerous sides have led matchday tributes for Brooks and manager Scott Parker has offered his full support in what is a difficult time for everyone involved.

Jack Robinson has had a mixed start to the season at Sheffield United as the Warrington born defender struggles for game time under Slavisa Jokanovic.

The Blades, who found it hard to stop the flow of goals early in the season, seemed dangerously vulnerable from set pieces and subsequently Robinson has been dropped from the XI.

The 28-year-old seems to have unfairly borne the brunt of the criticism, but manager Jokanovic has publicly backed the Warrington born defender and is hoping that he can regain the form which forced his move from Nottingham Forrest in 2020.

Moving into League One there was delight for Sam Tickle as the youth product of Wigan Athletic made his professional debut in the Papa John’s Trophy against Crewe Alexandra.

Tickle, who resides in Culcheth, started in goal in his side’s 2-0 loss, but after eight years at the club, was delighted to finally get his chance in the starting XI.

Although Shrewsbury Town sit 20th in League One after 15 games, Great Sankey’s Matthew Pennington has been a mainstay in the Salop’s defence this season.

Having started 14 times for Steve Cotterill’s side, Pennington was integral in Shrewsbury’s first clean sheet since July 31 as they defeated MK Dons 1-0 earlier this month.

Former Burnley youth team player Alex MacDonald has gained respectable game time for Gillingham Town this season netting in his side’s draw against Oxford at the Kassam Stadium earlier this season.

The Warrington-born winger will hope for more consistent game time in future weeks having not started since his side’s 2-0 loss to Wycombe on October 9.