Jesse Lingard’s loan spell at West Ham was an unmitigated success for all parties involved. The Hammers got the extra attacking threat they needed to secure European football. Manchester United saw a superb footballer return to Old Trafford back to his best. And Gareth Southgate had another experienced in-form player to call upon for England duty. The move to West Ham was eventually completed at the end of January 2021 and Lingard said he was ready to play instantly.
Jesse Lingard said: “When the deal finally got done, I was buzzing to start fresh. If the medical had been done in time, I would’ve played against Liverpool two days after I signed. I was that ready.”
Lingard has revealed that he settled instantly at the Hammers with captain Mark Noble playing a key role in his assimilation to his new team.
Jesse Lingard said: “I felt like I just fit in straight away. There’s a great group of lads at West Ham. They made that transition so easy for me. Let me tell you about Nobes. He’s got banter, or at least he thinks he does. He had it in for me from the time the gaffer called me Golden Boy in training. We were doing boxes and the ball went out. I touched it last, but David Moyes was like, ‘No, no, no, Jesse doesn’t have to go in the middle. He’s our Golden Boy!’ After that Nobes was after me!”
Despite the banter between the players, Lingard is grateful to Noble for the way he looked after him once he had moved south.
Jesse Lingard said: “He took me under his wing and explained to me what West Ham is all about. I remember on one of my first away games, I was sitting in the back of his car on the way to the airport. It was just me, him and Aaron Cresswell. Immediately, I was on my phone. Just automatic, as you do. But he wasn’t having any of it. He turned to me saying, ‘Whoa, no phones allowed in here! We talk.’ I was like, ‘O.K. … fine.’ On the plane, I would normally whack the headphones on and listen to music, but Nobes and the rest of the guys wouldn’t stand for it. It was like that everywhere at West Ham, proper conversations about everything. No phones, no social media. No more mm-hmm. If we were having dinner at a hotel, we’d stay down there for ages just talking. It helped us bond as a team, and personally, it helped me a lot.”
Lingard and West Ham were good for one another, it was simply a case of the right club at the right time and after his blistering debut with two goals against Aston Villa, the 28-year-old continued in the same vein, eventually finishing with nine goals and four assists in 16 matches. Lingard helped West Ham into Europe and headed back to Old Trafford with player and goal of the month trophies in the bag.
Jesse Lingard added: “When I came back to United, I felt like a different person. I’m more mature, more confident. I’m taking more responsibility. To be fair, I’ve got to credit Moyes and the West Ham lads for that. Cheers for everything, boys.”
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