Jesse Lingard underwent a torrid time as he slipped out of favour with Manchester United and England but a loan spell at West Ham in 2020-21 has reinvigorated his love for football. Lingard is back at Old Trafford for this season but could depart the club as his current deal expires next summer.
Jesse Lingard joined the Manchester United academy at the age of seven and progressed through the age groups as he made his senior debut for the Red Devils in the 2014-15 campaign under Louis Van Gaal. The 28-year-old has made 216 appearances for the Red Devils so far while scoring 35 goals and providing 21 assists across all competitions. The forward has helped the Manchester club win one FA Cup in which he scored the decisive goal, one EFL Cup, one FA Community Shield, and one Europa League during his stint at the club.
The England attacker suffered groin, hamstring, and knee injuries during 2018 and 2019 which forced him to miss out on games and prevented progress from being continued. Lingard eventually moved to West Ham in January 2021 on loan and registered nine goals and four assists for the Hammers in 16 appearances. The loan move has brought confidence back into the 18-year-old's game as he continues his career at Old Trafford this season. Lingard opened up the troubles he faced while he was struggling at a crucial part of his career.
“I couldn’t get back to where I had been. I was struggling mentally as well as physically. There was the off-field stuff with my mum and her battle with depression. I’ve talked about it before, and that isn’t what this story is about — but that affected me, too. It’s my mum, you know? Not playing only made things worse. But when I finally did play, even when I was fit again … I wasn’t me. My family kept coming to games, but they couldn’t even watch me. They were like, ‘This ain’t you. This ain’t your aura’. Games were passing me by like I wasn't there. Like a ghost,” Lingard told The Players’ Tribune.
“I even remember Bruno Fernandes coming to me before a game and saying, ‘Today I want to see the Jesse Lingard that I know’. All I could think was, ‘Mate, I can’t, ’cause this is not me!’ I love football. Love it to death. But there were times when I thought, ‘I just can’t do this anymore’,” he added.