The England international has had a turnaround in fortunes during the last 12 months, but he had to overcome some adversity to get there, Jessie Lingard said Mourinho helped him through in his lowest and dark times with random Facetime calls
Jesse Lingard has spoken up about his difficulties after falling out of favor with Manchester United and England. Still, he is relieved to have passed through those difficult times and looks forward to a brighter future.
There was a moment when the 28-year-old was at rock bottom, with even a good working relationship with Jose Mourinho failing to keep him from wondering if he would ever recover his spark.
Lingard’s loan time at West Ham in 2020-21 helped bring out the best in him, and he can now look back on his experiences with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Gareth Southgate, and Bruno Fernandes with fondness.
Jessie Lingard Said Mourinho Helped Him Through in His Lowest With Random FaceTime calls
Lingard had a breakout season at Old Trafford before Mourinho arrived in 2016 and was expected to be a regular under the Portuguese before nagging ailments crept in.
“Jose and I had a nice connection overall, I have to say,” he told The Players’ Tribune of working with one of the most dynamic coaches in global sports. He was pleasant to me. Before the injury, he trusted me and put me in crucial games. We won awards, and he turned me into a winner. He might be able to bring out that part of you.
“He also liked to connect with his players on a personal level.” When I looked at my phone, I’d see that I’d had a random FaceTime from him. I came out of nowhere to check-in.
“At first, I thought it was odd. He’d phone and say, ‘Hey Jesse, what are you up to?’ And I’d say, ‘Um, just chilling, watching TV… (awkward pause)… what are you doing?’ Hahaha!
“I thought it was amusing. It demonstrated how much he cared about us. However, in terms of injuries, it was difficult since he didn’t want to hear it.”
Lingard is having a bad day.
Lingard battled groin, hamstring, and knee issues in 2018 and 2019, pushing him to the treatment table daily and preventing him from maintaining his excellent development.
As he slid down the pecking order at club and country, the gifted midfielder began to question whether it was all worth it, stating of that time in his career, “I couldn’t go back to where I had been.” I was battling both psychologically and physically. There was the off-field drama with my mother and her struggle with depression. I’ve mentioned it before, and it’s not the focus of this narrative, but it also touched me. It’s my mother, you know.
“Not playing exacerbated the situation. But when I eventually did play, even when I was fully recovered… I wasn’t myself. My family continued to attend games, but they couldn’t even see me. ‘This isn’t you,’ they said. This is not your aura.’ Games were passing me by as if I didn’t exist like a phantom.
“I recall Bruno Fernandes approaching me before a game and saying, ‘Today, I want to see the Jesse Lingard that I know.'” ‘Mate, I can’t, because this isn’t me!’ was all I could think.
“I adore football.” I’m in love with it. But there were times when I felt like, ‘I just can’t do this any longer.’
West Ham loan and feelings for Bruno Fernandes
Lingard finally earned a loan move to West Ham in January 2021, where he scored nine goals and provided four assists in 16 games to re-establish his confidence.
This season, he has made six appearances for United and as many for England. Those who never lost trust in him are pleased to see a cheerful personality enjoying his game again and proving any naysayers wrong.
“Bruno Fernandes referred to me as the ‘best player in the Premier League in an interview with United… me!!” Lingard remarked of his comeback. Can you believe it? That comes from Bruno!
“I have a lot of feelings for Bruno. Throughout my loan, he texted me notes of encouragement. It was incredible to get such acknowledgment from someone of his caliber.
“However, I wasn’t overachieving. What you saw at West Ham was the type of player I can be when everything falls into place. Assume it was an improved version of the old Jesse Lingard. Jesse reincarnated.
“When I returned to United, I felt like a completely different guy. I’m more mature and self-assured. I’m taking on additional responsibilities. To be honest, I have to give credit to David Moyes and the West Ham players. Thank you for everything, boys.
“I’m really looking forward to this season.” It may seem strange to say when you’ve spent your entire life in a club, but I’ve always wanted to show people what I’m capable of, you know what I mean?”