Jesse Lingard opened up about receiving constant support from Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes when the former was experiencing his career’s lowest moments.
From being a forgotten player to one of Manchester United’s key players in the 2021-22 campaign, Lingard has come a long way. A very successful loan stint with West Ham in the second half of last season saw Lingard redeem his career. He scored nine goals and five assists as he helped West Ham finish sixth in the Premier League table. As a result, West Ham returned to European soccer as they are playing the Europa League in the underway campaign.
“I couldn’t get back to where I had been. I was struggling mentally as well as physically. There was the off-field stuff with my mum and her battle with depression. I’ve talked about it before, and that isn’t what this story is about — but that affected me, too. It’s my mum, you know? Not playing only made things worse. But when I finally did play, even when I was fit again, I wasn’t me. My family kept coming to games, but they couldn’t even watch me. They were like, ‘This ain’t you. This ain’t your aura.’ Games were passing me by like I wasn’t there. Like a ghost,” Lingard wrote an emotional piece for The Players’ Tribune.
The 28-year-old Lingard made a special mention about Fernandes, who was a constant source of support for the Englishman during his darkest times.
“I even remember Bruno Fernandes coming to me before a game and saying, ‘Today I want to see the Jesse Lingard that I know.’ All I could think was, ‘Mate, I can’t, ’cause this is not me!’” Lingard wrote further.
Lingard, who not only helped West Ham but also himself at the London Stadium, expressed that Fernandes’ messages throughout his loan deal at West Ham meant a lot to him.
“After that [the Premier League awards] Bruno Fernandes referred to me as the ‘best player in the Premier League’ in an interview with United … me!! Can you believe that?!? That’s coming from Bruno! I’ve got a lot of love for Bruno. He was dropping me messages of support throughout my loan. To get that recognition from someone at his level was just amazing,” added Lingard, who will be without a contract at the end of the 2021-22 season.
It has been reported that Lingard could end his two-decade association with Manchester United in the next few months. The 28-year-old forward has rejected a contract extension from the Red Devils and the club could cash in on him in January.