Manchester United think Jesse Lingard has improved at West Ham for three reasons, according to reports. The England international was allowed to move to David Moyes’ side back in the January transfer window. And he’s loving life at the London Stadium so far, scoring six goals and clocking up two assists from eight games.
Lingard was given his Manchester United debut by Louis van Gaal back in 2014.
And, in the years that followed, he emerged as an important player under both the Dutchman and his successor, Jose Mourinho.
Lingard scored the winner in the 2016 FA Cup final, while also helping his side to EFL Cup and Europa League glory the following year.
Before joining West Ham, however, the 28-year-old has fallen out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford.
Stuck behind Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek in the pecking order, Lingard was allowed to secure a temporary move away.
And he’s been in magnificent form ever since, scoring six times for West Ham from eight appearances in the capital so far.
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Now, the Athletic say United believe Lingard is better in the capital for three reasons.
One is because he’s got a level of responsibility, with the 28-year-old very much Moyes’ talisman at the current moment in time.
A second is a guarantee of games, with Lingard virtually assured to start every week while he’s at the London Stadium.
And a third is a license to try things. Moyes has given the United star freedom, providing him a license to do as he pleases.
Regarding Lingard’s future, it’s stated the United star hasn’t entirely ruled out returning to the Theatre of Dreams and giving things another go.
But, as he enters the prime years of his career, the playmaker is likely to want regular first-team football to ensure he stays on the right track.
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And whether United could grant him that wish, with so many other talented players in Solskjaer’s squad, is something only time will tell.
Meanwhile, Lingard is expected to feature when West Ham lock horns with Leicester in their Premier League clash on Sunday.
And, speaking ahead of that game, the England international expressed a belief the Hammers were ‘heading in the right direction’ under Moyes.
“We’re brilliant, we’re moving the right direction and the team is full of confidence and all of us want to concentrate on the next game and getting the next three points and putting us into an even better position,” he explained.
“Anything is possible, I believe.
“We’re going in the right direction and it’s down to us now to maintain that position and keep the performances coming.
“We’ve still got a lot to learn and a lot to improve and we’re working on that every day in training to get the best out of the players on matchday.
“For the time being, it’s all about working hard in training this week and concentrating on Sunday’s game.”
Lingard also thinks that, if West Ham play to their strengths against Leicester, they’re capable of claiming victory.
“For us, obviously we like to concentrate on ourselves and showing what we can do, first and foremost,” he continued.
“We know Leicester are a great side and they are maintaining a run of form but the same goes for us as well and I wouldn’t say we’re the underdogs. It’s 11v11 on the pitch and we back ourselves.
“We go into the game full of confidence and hopefully we can get the three points as it would be a huge boost for us.”
The United star reflected on his recent goal against Wolves, too, expressing a belief it’s up there with the best he’s scored throughout his career.
“We’re in really good spirits at the moment – the whole team is, to be honest,” he said.
“It was a good victory and obviously we’re in the top four and we want to maintain that position now.
“It’s up with the best goals I’ve ever scored. It’s similar to a goal I scored against Watford for Manchester United, but I’d say it’s definitely up there.
“With the spin for Pablo’s goal, it was just using my initiative because the ball was going out of play and I just had to get their as quickly as I could, and by the time I got there I knew the defender was there, so I knew I had to spin immediately.
“We’re playing with confidence and winning games and when you’re doing that, things like that will come, and thankfully it came to me.”