JESSE LINGARD fought back with a shot that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left, even though he was Manchester United’s ‘most capable’ player last season.
The Red Devils boss dropped Lingard, 28, before the football pandemic was ruled out and gave him little time to play despite the midfielder’s pleas.
Hitting Solskjaer’s debut as United boss in December 2018, the academic product continued a long goalless streak in the league that lasted until the last day of next season.
But Lingard put forward a new approach formulated during the first lock to get out of the rut.
He told BT Sport: “During the lock, I repeated my best moments playing football – a season led by Jose [Mourinho] where I scored all those goals and went to the World Cup and the season when Ole came in and I started well.
“So I started retelling a lot of games to see where I was doing well, put that fire in my stomach and drove again to go and shoot because it would be easy for me to fall and take out an easy option.
“But a person like me who has been through a lot and knows the game, I can’t just give it up like that and I’ll always come out with a fight.
“I went back to one of the strongest and most capable after the lock and I didn’t get the opportunity I was waiting for.
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“But the whole time I was there and not playing, I was additionally training and maintaining top fitness when it was time for it.
“So it’s a lot of work for me and staying committed, and I’m back to basics.”
Lingard made just three appearances in the first half of this season, all in the cup, before the loan moved to West Ham.
And he certainly hit the bracket quickly on his debut against Aston Villa.
Third named in the line-up against Sheffield United on Monday, the 24-year-old England international should have a great chance to impress in the final months of the campaign.
A place in the Three Lions European Championships may be long, but Gareth Southgate was a big Lingard fan in his Old Trafford premiere.
I’m concentrating on winning West Ham games, playing regular football and coming back smiling and going back to old Jesse.
When it comes to potential international return, he added, “It’s in my mind.
“I have my goals that I wrote down before I came to West Ham and as long as I can hit them, we’ll see which door opens for me.
“For now, I’m concentrating on West Ham wins and regular football, I’m coming back smiling and I’m going back to old Jesse again.”
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