In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, Dean Windass has praised Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard’s “attitude” and “application” during his loan spell at West Ham.
Following just three appearances for Manchester United in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup, the England attacker was loaned out to the Hammers in January and has made a significant impact during his first month at the London Stadium.
Lingard enjoyed a dream debut when scoring twice in the victory at Aston Villa before netting the winner in West Ham’s London derby win over Tottenham.
The United loanee then assisted Michail Antonio against Manchester City on Saturday to take his goal contributions to four in just five matches, which doesn’t include the penalty he won in the Sheffield United game.
Lingard hadn’t been used in the Premier League by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer all season – with the 5 ft 9 man’s last United start coming on New Year’s Day last year.
But when speaking to FFC, Windass was full of praise for Lingard despite his lack of opportunities at Old Trafford prior to his move. He said:
“It’s testament to his application and his desire to prove [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer wrong. And Ole has probably said to him ‘go prove to me, and come back pre-season and then you know, then you’re back on the list again, and you’re back in my thoughts again’.
“Some players sulk, some players go ‘well you don’t want me’. But he’s obviously kept himself in peak condition whilst he’s not being playing. He’s probably played a lot of bounce games behind closed doors, and probably asked to play a lot of bounce games – I used to when I got injured, I’d ask to play the reserves before I started getting back in there in the first-team to get up to speed so I don’t look stupid. So testament to the kid, his attuite has been spot on and it shows now.
“And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be on the phone with him saying ‘brilliant, well done, keep it going’. If West Ham then decide to take him permanently, then it’s up to the two clubs.
“But at the minute, Ole, Moyesy, will be going ‘you carry on the way you are and at the end of the season you make a decision’. West Ham might want to buy him permanently, Jesse might want to go back to Manchester United and go ‘I want to prove it to you gaffer that I want to be in Man United’s team again’, but he’s not doing himself any harm at the minute.”
Fair play to Lingard. Following the best part of five months without playing, he’s come in at West Ham, knuckled down and is reaping the rewards on the pitch.
There’s never a bad time to be playing well, but with the European Championships around the corner, and a manager in Gareth Southgate that trusts him following his exploits at the 2018 World Cup, who knows where Lingard’s form might lead him to.