Jesse Lingard takes dig at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after West Ham move

Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard says he’s determined to prove Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wrong at West Ham after he failed to get a ‘chance’ at Old Trafford following Project Restart.

The 28-year-old joined the Hammers on loan in January after falling down the pecking order at the Theatre of Dreams.

Lingard looked to be one of those in line to benefit from Solskjaer’s appointment and he was a regular starter in the Norwegian’s early months at Old Trafford.

However, Lingard’s form collapsed and the midfielder used the break in play due to the pandemic in a bid to get back to his best by studying his play and working hard on his fitness.

But Lingard says he was not given a proper opportunity when the Premier League returned last June, despite proving himself to be one of the fittest at the club.

‘At this age, it’s all about regular football and showing people what you can do,’ Lingard told BT Sport.

‘First and foremost I’m here to play, win and help the team, so hopefully I can do that and we’ll see where we’re at come the end of the season. But it’s about playing with a smile on my face and enjoying my football and getting back to the old Jesse.

‘Football is a lot of ups and downs, people go through different stages and it’s not just a straight road to the top. There are a lot of setbacks which most people don’t see and a lot of things that go on behind closed doors.

‘During the lockdown I recapped my best moments playing football – the season under Jose (Mourinho) where I scored all of those goals and went to the World Cup and the season when Ole came in and I started well.

‘So I started recapping a lot of games to see where I did well, getting that fire in my belly and drive again to go and kick on because it would have been easy for me to fall off and take the easy option out. But a person like me who’s been through a lot and knows the game, I can’t just give it up like and I’ll always go out with a fight.

‘I came back one of the strongest and fittest (in the Man Utd squad) after the lockdown and I didn’t get my chance that I was waiting on but the whole time I was there and not playing I was doing extra training and keeping on top of my fitness for when the time was right.

‘So for me it’s about working hard and staying dedicated and I went back to basics.’

Lingard’s loan deal runs until the end of the season but it appears unlikely that there’s a route back to United for the academy graduate.

The midfielder scored twice on his Hammers debut during a 3-1 win against Aston Villa and the former England international will be looking to add to that against Sheffield United tonight.

Lingard was a regular under Gareth Southgate at the start of his tenure and he thrived at the 2018 World Cup, before losing his place as his form suffered at United.

However, the 28-year-old is not giving up on returning to the Three Lions squad.

‘It’s there in my mind,’ said Lingard.

‘I have my own targets that I have wrote down before I came to West Ham and as long as I can hit them, we’ll see which doors open for me.

‘For now I’m concentrating on winning games for West Ham and playing regular football and getting back smiling and back to the old Jesse again.’

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