How it went down with Jesse Lingard
Today, 29th of January 2021, SkySports reported that the born and bred Manchester United midfielder, Jesse Lingard is set to move on loan to West Ham.
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Lingard celebrated his 28th birthday last December and he has been at the club since he was 7. His breakthrough moment came in 2016, managed by Dutchman Louis Van Gaal, in the FA Cup final versus Crystal Palace. He came on as a second-half substitute, and in the extra-time, he netted a screamer that had him wheel away in crazy celebration and rip his shirt. Although Lingard had made his professional debut two years prior, that moment projected him straight to the hearts of United fans globally.
Afterwards, it looked like he's starting to hit some ground. His game can be understood by everyone -- a midfielder like Iniesta that possesses energy, intensity, quick-thinking, creative sensation, and a thorn against any team. United handed him a bumper 4-year contract, he also made the England 2018 World Cup squad -- but it all slipped down suddenly. The 2019 calendar year, not a single goal or assist was registered. He lacked concentration on the ball and even looked disinterested sometimes. In the fanbase, they were divided. It was like a chandelier just crashed and everyone wants to find out why.
Some people said he's not a good footballer, and the moment he had can come to anyone. Others like Tyler-Joe Wolff of the United Stand believes his self-centred personality made him lose focus for football. He wrote, "There’s no ‘i’ in a team, but there is an ‘i’ in the JLingz brand, something that seems harmless on the surface, but when you really think about it is quite selfish...perhaps Lingard became lost in his brand, rather than focus on what his job actually is."
In concord with Tyler, Lingard seems to have several other actual jobs outside football. Not the contract type like Manchester United but those things he loves to spend his time on. The Internet is one of them, he loves Snapchat. He often recorded videos feeling fresh like a 20-year old academy star. He posted one with Marcus Rashford singing 'beans beans beans', he posted another stimulating a sexual act in a hotel in Miami during a holiday saying "Seen a lot of shit in this room, a lot of fucking shit, a lot of good memories in this room."
All these didn't sit well with the fans, club legends and his new manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Ole confirmed the club punished him for the latter video internally, and stressed it's not the right character for a successful footballer and even warned him that is his last chance at the club. “I have had many years at this club and I have seen which players have been successful. You have got to be a strong character to play here."
But Lingard felt Ole didn't know what he's going through. He revealed Ole had severally given him a stern warning about his dipped form, wanting him to do more. The pressure kept coming from the manager till it reached a point he felt the need to let him know. "I wasn't performing, and he was on me all the time. So I felt it was best to get everything off my chest and tell him why my head wasn't right. So I knocked on his door."
“Last season, I was going through some things off the field so it was difficult for me to perform on the field. I was the type of guy that liked to bottle things up, keep everything to myself, but various things happened and I felt it was the right time to speak out," he said.
His mom was suffering from depression, she had to travel to London for care, his grandfather had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had his two siblings, aged 15 and 12 and his 1-year old daughter to cater for, and then rush to training and prepare for match days to fulfil his footballing duties. "I have been down and glum; just worrying. I felt like everybody just passed all the stuff to me and it weighed on my shoulders. It was like, 'Here you go Jesse, you deal with this on your own.'"
"It has been tough to see my loved ones struggling and then I have to come to work and try to do my job."
He joined the prolonged list of people whose career went down due to mental struggle. Yet the hate and criticism don't stop, especially on the internet. His head was photoshopped on Lionel Messi holding the Ballon d'Or trophy in a comic irony joke of his actual ability. Repetitive 'GET OUT OF MY CLUB' comments under his social media posts. It was like it can't get worse than this.
But he feels he can find his feet again, "Now it's about getting back to my best, and I feel I can do that."
Manchester United recently activated his one-year contract extension clause, a move to elevate his resale value. He has moved on loan to West Ham for the remainder of the 2020/2021 season. Ole did not feature him in a league game this season, so it seems the best for him now is to seek to play football elsewhere. Lingard wants to get back to his best and he believes he can do that.
He announced his West Ham move on his Instagram story, displaying a set of packed suitcases along with a caption "London Bound. #HammerTime You can't touch this."
*Quotes from Manchester Evening News, Bleacher Report, The United Stand and TalkSport.
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