Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Lingard reaps the benefits as loan pays off with England recall

SoccerNews in World Cup 18 Mar 2021

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Jesse Lingard admitted it had been a “long journey” back after earning an England recall following his fine form for West Ham.

Lingard’s most recent international appearance came in June 2019, as he was part of Gareth Southgate’s squad that featured in the inaugural Nations League Finals, eventually finishing third in the tournament.

The 28-year-old was also a regular as England reached the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup, yet a lack of playing time at Manchester United saw him slip down the pecking order with the Three Lions.

However, a loan spell away from Old Trafford has helped the United academy product kick-start his career. Now he has the chance to force his way back into Southgate’s plans ahead of the delayed Euro 2020, receiving a place in the squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.

“Buzzin [sic] to be recalled back into the England squad after two years,” Lingard tweeted, along with a picture of him celebrating while playing for the national team.

“It’s been a long journey, very mentally challenging but full of hard work and belief. Thank you to everyone who believed in me, this is just the start.”

Lingard had not featured for United in the Premier League this term before leaving in the mid-season transfer window, with his only outings in the campaign for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coming in domestic cup competitions.

Yet a reunion with former Red Devils boss David Moyes at West Ham has allowed the attacking midfielder to thrive again.

In his six league starts since joining, Lingard has scored four goals – twice as many as any of his new team-mates – and has also provided an assist, while only Aaron Cresswell (11) has created more chances than his tally of seven.

Southgate has been suitably impressed enough to include Lingard – whose long-term future at club level still remains unclear – in his latest squad.

“We weren’t sure how it would work out but we were able to give Jesse a great reference,” the England boss told media at the official squad announcement.

“We were just pleased he was back playing football. It’s one of those moves that has worked well for everybody.

“I can only reiterate that ideally you would’ve seen that over a longer period of time. He’s got a great opportunity now.”

Lingard is joined in the party by a familiar face in Luke Shaw, drafted back in by Southgate following the left-back’s outstanding form for United.

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