Jesse Lingard will leave Old Trafford as an adversary later tonight, which is something he never imagined he would do.
Lingard wants to assist Nottingham Forest defeat Manchester United, his only team up until a summer move to the City Ground. Nottingham Forest is on the rise and the Englishmen is a prominent part of the team.
The forward joined United at the age of seven, and in 2015, when he scored his first goal for them, he called it “a dream come true.”
He played in 232 games, making 35 goals and earning 32 caps for England. Hence, his four starts in his final season at the club did not represent his previous seasons.
As he recalls on Boxing Day, Jesse Lingard will depart from Old Trafford as a rival, which is something he never thought he would ever do in his football career.
He said: “I don’t know what the problem was, whether it was politics or whatever. I still haven’t got an answer. I’d rather that someone had told me, “This is why you’re not playing”, out of respect for me being there so long, but I never got that.’
‘It was false promises. I was training hard and I was sharp, I was ready.‘
‘So this is a chance to say my goodbyes because I never really got that. It will be an enjoyable occasion but we want to win the game. You can’t get caught up too much in it emotionally.’
At Forest, Lingard is getting comfortable. Just before the World Cup, he scored his first goal for the team in the 2-0 Carabao Cup victory over Tottenham.
To set up a Quarter-final match with Wolves, he added another goal this week against Blackburn in Carabao Cup round of 16.
After helping England reach the semi-finals in 2018, the 30-year-old had ambitions of competing in a second World Cup when he signed a one-year contract with Forest.
He had an Achilles issue in the first few weeks of the campaign, which prevented him from participating in Qatar World Cup.
‘The break has been better for my achilles,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t sprint properly. People wanted me to hit the ground running like I did at West Ham, but it’s sometimes not like that. I was trying to get through games and not feeling 100 per cent.’
‘Now I’ve recovered and come back sharp. I can’t wait for the season to start again. In the Tottenham and Palace games, that’s where you saw the real me, with the work ethic, pressing and tackling.’
However, healing from an injury pales cannot be comparable to the psychological problems Jesse Lingard dealt with before the first coronavirus lockdown in the spring of 2020. Hence, the football star saw the lockdown period as a turning point in his career.
‘Lockdown saved my career,’ he says. ‘It was a reset button for me. It was about having belief in myself again. I didn’t want to quit football, it was more about having a break. Then lockdown came and I started looking at old videos of my goals.‘
‘It was about finding that fire in my belly again. Now I’m happy and that is the most important thing in football. I feel free.’
Meanwhile, even if United signs a new striker in January, Erik ten Hag is backing Marcus Rashford to score 20 league goals this season.
After only scoring 20 goals in the League thus far, Ten Hag acknowledges his team needs more goals.
Cody Gakpo of PSV was the player United were most interested in signing to replace Cristiano Ronaldo. Unfortunately, the player seems to be moving towards the direction of Liverpool.
In line with that, Ten Hag thinks his current group of players has greater potentials to help the team achieve its objectives this season.