Jesse Lingard: My West Ham teammates helped me earn an England recall
Jesse Lingard has thanked his West Ham United teammates for helping him to win a recall to the senior England squad.
The 28-year-old has been in sensational form since joining the Hammers on loan from Manchester United at the end of January, scoring five goals, assisting three more and winning two penalties in just seven Premier League appearances.
The attacking midfielder has settled in superbly, with his outstanding play and infectious personality quickly endearing him to his new colleagues in Claret and Blue – and earning him a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for England’s opening three 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers after a 21-month absence.
Lingard, fellow West Ham star Declan Rice, and company kick-off their campaign to reach Qatar with ties at home to San Marino and Poland either side of a trip to Albania, and the No11 says his happiness as a Hammer means he heads off to St George’s Park full of renewed confidence and belief in his game.
The team has helped me tremendously and I can’t thank the players and staff for welcoming me enough and it’s time to crack on now
“It’s brilliant, and it’s about getting minutes and getting regular football and trying to do the best I can,” he told West Ham TV. “The team has helped me tremendously and I can’t thank the players and staff for welcoming me enough and it’s time to crack on now.”
Lingard was outstanding again in Sunday’s 3-3 Premier League draw with Arsenal at London Stadium, scoring with an unstoppable 20-yard shot and assisting Jarrod Bowen with a quickly-taken free-kick within the space of 98 first-half seconds.
The Irons were ultimately unable to hold onto a three-goal lead and forced to settle for a point, but he believes the squad will learn from the experience and are still moving in the right direction.
“We started off really well, obviously, going 3-0 up and we expected to go on and score four and five, so maybe it was a lapse in concentration and we went on to concede three goals,” he observed. “When you’re 3-0 up, and 3-1 up at half-time, we felt we’d go on and win the game but there were chances missed and decisions made that didn’t profit us, but we can’t rely on those things.
“We were brilliant in the opening 35 minutes. We had the confidence to play and were getting on the ball and scoring goals and it was just about carrying on that in the second half, coming out strong and confident, and having that focus to go on and win the game.
“You can’t hide the fact that Arsenal have good players and they had a lot of possession, but we back ourselves. It’s about carrying on that confidence and having that belief to score four and five and not dropping off, but rather getting on the ball and still making things happen.
“It’s football, though, and we know how far we’ve come already, the team have been brilliant and, as long as we stick together as a team, we can go far this season.”