Jesse Lingard: I enjoy every minute putting on an England shirt
Jesse Lingard did everything but score on his return to the England side in Thursday’s 5-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying Group I win over San Marino.
Making his first appearance for the Three Lions in 19 months, the West Ham United attacking midfielder was heavily involved at Wembley, unleashing ten shots, five of them on target, finding San Marino goalkeeper Elia Benedettini in superb form, but assisting a goal for Everton centre-forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Despite his frustrations in front of goal, Lingard was happy to be back in an England shirt, earning his 25th cap for his country and rewarding the faith shown by manager Gareth Southgate with an eye-catching display as his country made a winning start to their quest to reach Qatar 2022.
I enjoy every minute putting on an England shirt
“I enjoy every minute putting on an England shirt - it is an honour and it has been a long time coming,” said the Hammers No11, who has scored five goals and assisted three more in his opening seven Premier League appearances in Claret and Blue, but found Benedettini in the form of his life at the Home of Football.
“I could have scored six or seven goals, but we got the game won and that is the important thing. I looked at the ‘keeper in the second half and said to him ‘you’ve saved three worldies from me’.
“It is about consistency. I feel like I am not even in my prime yet – I’ve not played full seasons before, only half seasons.
“I wanted to bring the form from West Ham to here. It is brilliant to be back and I’m playing with a smile on my face.”
England, who also have West Ham's Declan Rice in their squad, continue their Group I campaign with an away fixture in Albania on Sunday, followed by a home game with Łukasz Fabiański's at Wembley next Wednesday evening.