England manager Gareth Southgate says Jesse Lingard has a huge opportunity to impress during the upcoming international window.
Lingard’s sparkling form since joining West Ham United on loan from Manchester United in January has seen him earn a first call-up to the national team in nearly two years.
The 28-year-old has 24 caps and four goals to his name, having played important roles in the Three Lions’ runs to the last four at both the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 UEFA Nations League finals.
Having spent a spell away from the international stage, a run of four goals in six games has seen Southgate recall the West Ham No11 and the boss has huge faith in him to deliver in World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland later this month.
“Our injuries in the attacking areas have opened up an opportunity for Jesse, but I have to say his performances for West Ham have been excellent,” Southgate said.
Buzzin to be recalled back into the @England squad after 2 years ? Its been a long journey very mentally challenging but full of hard work and belief ?? Thank you to everyone who believed in me, this is just the start ⚡️#workmode #JL11NGZ @WestHam pic.twitter.com/cFeZtiiW0X— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) March 18, 2021
“He’s scored four goals in six games and we know he can perform at this level. We know he’s been a really good member of our squad, both in terms of his general link-up play and he’s scored goals for England as well. There’s no doubting his quality.
“We trust Jesse and we think he can play a big part in these three games - it’s a great opportunity for him.”
More than anything, Southgate is thrilled to see a player who was a key member of his side in the early part of his reign as England boss return to his best form.
With the Hammers fighting at the top end of the Premier League table, he has urged Lingard to keep on pushing forward.
He added: “We have a lot of belief in Jesse - we know what a good player he is. He’s played well for England whenever he’s played and it’s good to see him back playing at club level with a smile on his face.
“There’s never been any question in my mind about his quality.”