Jesse Lingard has revealed he at times used alcohol as something of a coping mechanism while he was at Manchester United.
Lingard ended his 22-year stint at United, where he came through the youth ranks, with a move to Nottingham Forest ahead of the 2022-23 season.
The 30-year-old left Old Trafford on a free transfer, having failed to find regular minutes last season despite thriving while on loan at West Ham in the previous campaign.
Lingard has explained turned to alcohol during the difficulties of his final seasons at United, as he sought to mitigate his frustrations.
“I was drinking before bed, having a nightcap,” he said on The Diary Of A CEO podcast. “I look back now and think ‘what was I doing that for?’
“But I needed something to try and take the pain away and put me at ease somehow. I was trying to forget what was going on. But it makes it 10 times worse.
“You’re getting that much abuse, and I’m already down enough, and I’ve got to perform. I’m already going through things you don’t know about. I felt like the world was on my shoulders.”
— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) January 2, 2023
Lingard made 232 senior appearances for United and helped them win the EFL Cup and Europa League.
He scored in their 2017 EFL Cup final victory over Southampton and will go up against his former club when Forest meet them in the semi-finals of that competition on January 25.
United seem to be on an upward trajectory under Erik ten Hag, though Lingard believes they are still “miles” behind rival clubs.
He said: “[There was] no balance, no structure, people doing what they want. It was like a free for all.
“They are so behind with everything. You see [Manchester] City’s facilities, Tottenham’s facilities. People are miles ahead.
“I just want them to get up to date on the new things that are happening. You’ve got to stay relevant [and] catch up a bit.”
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