Jesse Lingard returned to the West Ham team on Sunday afternoon and instantly provided the attacking spark that had been missing at Old Trafford. The speed with which Lingard has got back to his best is something that has surprised many, after all, he had not started a league match for over 12 months by the time he made his Hammers debut. But the England international has put this down to the condition he kept himself in while being sidelined by Ole Gunnar Solksjaer at Manchester United:
Jesse Lingard said “The whole time I was there and not playing I was doing extra training and keeping on top of my fitness for when the time was right. So for me, it’s about working hard and staying dedicated, and I went back to basics. A key reason for the move to the London Stadium was to get a chance to play football. I came back one of the strongest and fittest after the lockdown and I didn’t get my chance that I was waiting on.
That opportunity has now been given to him by David Moyes and Lingard has grabbed it with both hands. His fine form has seen him recalled to the England set-up by Gareth Southgate for the first time since 2019 and Lingard agreed that the thought of representing his country in the European Championships this summer is spurring him on.
Jesse Lingard said “It’s there in my mind. I have my own targets that I have written down before I came to West Ham and as long as I can hit them, we’ll see which doors open for me. For now I’m concentrating on winning games for West Ham and playing regular football and getting back smiling and back to the old Jesse again.”
Lingard added that watching clips of his best performances helped him prepare for his return to action and motivate him to get back to his best.
Jesse Lingard said “During the lockdown, I recapped my best moments playing football. The season under Jose where I scored all of those goals and went to the World Cup and the season when Ole came in and I started well. So I started recapping a lot of games to see where I did well, getting that fire in my belly and drive again to go and kick on because it would have been easy for me to fall off and take the easy option out. But a person like me who’s been through a lot and knows the game, I can’t just give it up like and I’ll always go out with a fight.”
The 28-year-old has missed two games for the Hammers since his arrival on loan at the London Stadium, one FA Cup and one Premier League game both against his parent club Manchester United. It is no coincidence that on both occasions West Ham looked blunt in attack and failed to trouble the goalkeeper let alone the scoreboard. Lingard has been involved in seven matches for West Ham, scoring five and assisting three in that time, and only once have West Ham failed to score with the attacking-midfielder in the team.
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