Jesse Lingard has lifted the lid on the off-field personal issues that have stunted his progress at Manchester United this season.
The England midfielder was one of the country’s brightest young prospects around the time of the 2018 World Cup, but has since struggled to reach the heights expected of him at Old Trafford.
This season he has endured a bit-part role in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team and the 27-year-old has now moved to explain to fans exactly why he’s been struggling to reach his potential.
“It’s really hard. Games were passing me by because I had a lot on my mind.”
“You’ve got to play in front of 75,000 people. It’s like I was numb, not there.”
“Money can’t buy happiness.”@JesseLingard bravely opens up to talkSPORT on his recent struggles. 👏 pic.twitter.com/gnUIjH3M82
‘It’s just really hard, especially when it’s family issues,’ Lingard told talkSPORT in an honest and emotional interview. ‘I had a lot to deal with at home and obviously you’ve got to play in front of 75,000 people each week.
‘And it’s kind of like I was numb, like I weren’t there. And the games were just passing me by because I had a lot of things on my mind. Obviously we’re human so everyone thinks “oh it’s sweet, you’ve got money and you’re living in a nice house”. But money can’t buy happiness.’
Lingard has started just nine Premier League games this season, and looks set to end the campaign having played under half an hour in the league since the June restart.
Expanding on his point in the interview, Lingard added: ‘Your family is so important to you, you never want to see them hurt or get hurt. So for me, it was a difficult period and I was bottling a lot of things in at the time.
‘And I felt it was right to speak to the manager about certain things and it was good. He was totally understandable with me and we went through it and then obviously lockdown came.
‘Since lockdown, I’ve been working hard and I wanted to be the fittest to show that I’ve not been slacking during lockdown, to make a real point. Since I’ve been back in I’ve trained really well, stayed positive and smiled every day.’
The England man now appears to be looking ahead to next season, where he will once again try and reclaim his place in a packed and talented midfield at United.
Lingard has one year left on his United deal, with the option for a one-year extension, but it would not be surprising to see him move on to pastures new.