Jesse Lingard: It’s great to be playing with great players who I’ve played with before
Jesse Lingard is hoping his familiarity with West Ham United’s Declan Rice, Michail Antonio and Darren Randolph will help him settle in quickly at London Stadium.
The Irons’ new loan signing from Manchester United has played alongside Rice for England, trained alongside both the Hammer of the Year and Antonio at St George’s Park, and previously shared a pitch and dressing room with Randolph as a youngster at Birmingham City.
Ahead of his potential Claret and Blue debut at Aston Villa on Wednesday evening, Lingard told West Ham TV he has enjoyed reuniting with the trio at Rush Green.
It’s great to be playing with great players who I’ve played with before and understand how I play as well
“Dec’s journey has been amazing,” the No11 observed. “He’s a top-class footballer and a top-class professional and he deserves everything that comes his way. It’s great to be playing with great players who I’ve played with before and understand how I play as well.
“Darren was one of the first ones who took me under his wing at Birmingham [in the Championship during the 2013/14 season] and I settled in really well with him. It’s good to reunite with old faces and, like I say, it makes me feel more comfortable settling in.
“I’ve seen Mick before and met him at England squads before and we’ve had some good times! I think it’ll be good. Like I said, it’s a great team with youth and experience as well and we’ve got a couple of lads with a good bit of banter as well. It’s always good to have the fun side of football, but also have the serious side as well, which I’m looking forward to.”
The 28-year-old has become synonymous with eye-catching celebrations after scoring, including his personalised ‘JL’ pose, rapper 2 Milly’s ‘Milly Rock’ dance, the ‘shoot dance’ from the video game Fortnite and the ‘gun lean’ introduced by rapper Russ and once sampled by Rice.
Some of Lingard’s celebrations have even been included in the FIFA video game series and he is looking forward to giving Antonio, who has rolled out a succession of elaborate routines himself over the last few years, a run for his money in that department!
“That’s the main aim, like I said, regular football, playing week-in and week-out and to be on the pitch is a blessing,” he confirmed, with a smile on his face. “All I want to do is play football and be happy.”