Jesse Lingard’s resurgence is a heart-warming tale
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Jesse Lingard deserves a spot in England's Euro 2020 squad.
Based on the talent that England manager Gareth Southgate has at his disposal, he could potentially justifiably leave Lingard out of his Euro 2020 plans, though it would be foolish for the Three Lions boss to do that.
Lingard desperately needed to leave Manchester United in January after having been deemed surplus to requirements at his boyhood club.
He ended up being handed a lifeline by David Moyes at West Ham United and has surpassed all expectations so far.
Lingard’s form has been so good that some United fans are wondering whether the club should re-integrate him into their plans ahead of next season even though the club considered him not good enough just three months ago.
Lingard’s resurgence has honestly been one of the most heart-warming tales to emerge in English football in recent seasons. Fittingly, it also happened under Moyes, a manager whom many people considered “done” just over a year and a half ago following ill-fated spells in charge of not only United but also Real Sociedad and the doomed Sunderland side of the 201617 season that was relegated without even a fight.
West Ham appointed Moyes to lead them in December 2019 when they were clear relegation candidates and while it may still be a hard task for the current team to finish in the top four, he has transformed the side into a solid top-six outfit.
It’s particularly impressive that there have not been extraordinary changes to the team in that time but Moyes has managed to carefully and effectively manage the club’s resources, pulling off masterstrokes by signing defensive midfielder Tomas Soucek and more recently Lingard.
Moyes has now proven why he was so highly rated by Sir Alex Ferguson and also proven that he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time during his stints with United, Sociedad and Sunderland. He is now in an environment where he can express himself fully and we are seeing him flourish again.
It does not make sense at all for Lingard to return to Old Trafford. Naturally, it would not be psychologically easy for anyone to re-integrate themselves into an environment where they were made to feel unwanted and undervalued.
He is also now 28 years old and at the peak of his career, unlikely to get much better from here on. At West Ham, Lingard has shown what he can do when he is made into a first-team regular and given opportunities. At United, he may not even be certain of regular first-team action should he return.
With Jack Grealish struggling with injuries and Leicester City’s James Maddison struggling for form, it makes sense for Southgate to select Lingard for his Euro squad.
While Maddison and Grealish are talented and capable of succeeding at international level, they do not have the big tournament experience of Lingard who was a key component of the England team that reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup nor do they have his level of confidence at the moment.