Jesse Lingard has struggled to nail down a regular starting berth at Old Trafford for a few seasons now. With Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek’s ahead of him in the pecking order, Lingard’s game time reduced drastically this season. It prompted manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to send him out on loan last January. West Ham United were lucky winners to acquire his services. His scintillating performances have quickly made him a favourite among the Hammers fans.
He has already scored eight goals and assisted four across nine games. His incredible form has helped David Moyes’ side build an unlikely claim for a Champions League berth. “Jesse has been brilliant since he left and I’ve answered this quite a few times,” Ole told reporters at his pre-match press conference ahead of Granada clash.
In the last weekend, Lingard netted a brace over third-placed Leicester City to help the Hammers win 3-2. Solskjaer said he could have retained him, but conceded that Lingard had to play regular football, hence he was sent on loan.
“Selfishly, we could have kept him because he’s always got a part to play, he’s a fantastic lad around the place, Man United through and through, never once did he moan or cause me a problem, he just worked really hard,” he added.
“He deserved a chance to play for more football – that’s why we let him go to West Ham because he deserves a chance for what he’s done throughout his life for Man United. Of course, we [will] welcome him back.”
His brilliant form with West Ham has also caught the attention of England coach Gareth Southgate. He played a crucial role in England’s recent international matches, giving him a chance of making into this summer’s European Championship squad.
“I hope he goes to the Euros, with his performances now, with the confidence he’s got, I don’t think that’s beyond him,” Solskjaer added. “I hope he has a strong finish to the league.”
“It was different here [with] Bruno [Fernandes and] the form he’s played in, arguably in Jesse’s favourite position, and that was just a decision that we’ve made. Delighted, though, for Jesse, and just wish him all the best for the rest of the season until he comes back.”