Jesse Lingard: West Ham ace reveals he nearly took break from football

Jesse Lingard in action for West Ham

Jesse Lingard is flying at West Ham.

The English midfielder signed for the Hammers in January and he's already contributed 13 goals in 10 Premier League games.

Lingard has now opened up in a emotional interview that he was considering taking a break from football prior to his move to West Ham.

The 28-year-old has spoken bravely about the mental health issues he was struggling with at Man United which made him consider whether he wanted to keep playing.

“Not quit football, just have a time out really,” he told Presenting.

“I was going into games happy sitting on the bench and that’s not me. I was telling my brother the other day: ‘Remember when I was happy sitting on the bench and all this?’

"I didn’t want to play because my mind wasn’t there, I wasn’t focused at all. I was thinking about other things and obviously bottling it all up; trying to play football, you can’t do it.”

Jesse Lingard in action for West Ham

Lingard's mother has struggled with her own mental health issues, which meant Lingard had to look after his younger brother and sister while playing.

“Through the years we had the help for her, but even just for me it’s hard to bottle things up,” Lingard added.

“It feels like you’re not the same person. I felt like I wasn’t Jesse Lingard. Even in football matches, I felt like the game was just passing me by, like I just didn’t want to be there – it was crazy…

"So, I opened up to United and told them what I was going through, what my mum was going through and they’re always there to help.”

Jesse Lingard in action for Man United

Lingard said the lockdown last March was the turning point.

He continued: “I could have easily quit in lockdown, been like: ‘Nah I don’t want to do it’. I could have easily given up but the fight in me always brings me back to life and in lockdown I was just smashing gym, doing runs. I wanted to get back to training fitter and faster than anyone else and I did that.

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“I feel like lockdown has kind of transitioned me in a way. I watched my old games back and watched the World Cup games back and I thought: ‘Yeah, that’s the real Jesse Lingard.’"

The real Jesse Lingard is back indeed. His form has led him to being recalled to the England squad and he has a good chance of playing for his country at Euro 2020.

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