David Moyes has claimed that Jesse Lingard is getting fitter and fitter at West Ham United and will be in contention to face Arsenal in Sunday’s Premier League clash.
The Irons were without the England international as they lost 1-0 to Manchester United last weekend due to the on-loan playmaker being ineligible to face his parent club.
Lingard had been in terrific form in claret and blue before the Hammers visited Old Trafford, with the 28-year-old scoring four goals and providing two assists in six games played since joining in the January transfer window.
His form under Moyes has seen Gareth Southgate recall the 24-cap midfielder to the England squad for this month’s international break, having not featured for his country since the UEFA Nations League finals in June 2019.
Moyes is delighted for Lingard to be given another chance to represent his country as he deserves the call-up, and looks forward to seeing what more he can produce at West Ham.
“I’m really pleased for Jesse,” the Irons boss said on Friday. “It’s great for him and his performances have warranted it in how he’s played for us.
“I have to say he’s been very good. We just hope that continues and we want him to keep showing exactly what he can do on the pitch and he’s helped us. He’s been a good acquisition to the squad, and we hope he can add more goals between now and the end of the season.
“He’s looked very good in training this week and I think since the day he came in everybody has been a bit surprised how good his fitness is and how good his all-round game is.
“I can see by the way he is working that he’s even getting better, and his physical data is getting better and overall, he’s been very good for us. He’s helped us, he’s given us another string to our bow in terms of attacking options, so we’re really pleased with him.”
Lingard had only played three times this season for Manchester United before joining West Ham on loan, with two outings coming in the Carabao Cup in September and one in the FA Cup in January.
It is no surprise, then, that Lingard’s overall match fitness has somewhat been lacking, given he had only played 179 minutes over those appearances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, yet the £13.5m-rated maestro has still had a huge impact on West Ham’s form.
No Irons player has found the back of the net more often than Lingard since he moved to the London Stadium, with Tomas Soucek, Declan Rice, Issa Diop, Ryan Fredericks, Michail Antonio scoring two each and Craig Dawson accounting for West Ham’s other goal.
Moyes sharing that Lingard’s fitness is only getting better the more time that he spends at Rush Green may now allow the Red Devils product to reach an even higher level to his game, having occasionally waned towards the end of matches.
Having Lingard able to operate as close to 100 per cent for longer in matches will be a huge boost for Moyes after the international break, too, as the Hammers will still have to face Leicester City, Chelsea and Everton in the fight for a top-four Premier League finish after hosting Arsenal on Sunday.
His immediate availability could be beneficial at home to the Gunners, who will be striving to bounce back from a first defeat in five games after losing to Olympiacos in the Europa League on Thursday night.
AND in other news, a West Ham winter target is set to be available for £17m this summer…