Jesse Lingard has represented Manchester United for over two decades. During this period, the 28-year-old has won several honours, including the Europa League and FA Cup. Despite showing plenty of promise, the Warrington-born midfielder’s Old Trafford career has somewhat stagnated in recent years. As such, his loan move to West Ham United made sense for all parties. In London, Lingard is finding his match-winning form, but is it too little too late for his United future?
Hitting the Ground Running at West Ham
On January 29th, 2021, David Moyes’ West Ham completed the loan signing of Lingard. In temporarily moving to the London Stadium, the 28-year-old reconnected with the Scottish manager and has yet to look back. Having not played a single top-flight game for the Red Devils in 2020-21, nobody knew what to expect when Lingard stepped onto the pitch for the Hammers. However, it didn’t take him long to prove the doubters wrong.
On debut, the 28-year-old scored a brace in West Ham’s 3-1 victory over Aston Villa. He followed that up with two goals and two assists in his next five Premier League appearances. Upon making an immediate impact, the on-loan playmaker has fired West Ham into an intriguing race for Champions League football.
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Is It Time for United to Move on from Lingard?
Despite having the platform to showcase his talent in London, Lingard’s future still lacks clarity. Thus far, West Ham have impressively surpassed all expectations, but their objectives and pressures differ significantly from Manchester United. For years, Lingard has been in the spotlight and under immense scrutiny from analysts, media, and supporters. At the London Stadium, however, his fresh start allows him to focus solely on playing football.
Come the end of his loan deal, Moyes hopes that Lingard will want to stay at West Ham, and few could blame the 28-year-old if he pushed for a permanent move. Aside from his club career, the Warrington-born midfielder also has to consider his international prospects. Gareth Southgate has already rewarded his form with a call-up, but he needs consistent football to keep his place.
The Dilemma: Stay at United or Play Regularly?
If Lingard is to stay and fight for his place at Old Trafford beyond his current loan deal, he faces the near-impossible task of displacing the ever-impressive Bruno Fernandes. Regularly getting back into the United team appears unlikely. With Moyes’ support, the 28-year-old could return to his best form at the London Stadium, and few Red Devils supporters would deny him such an opportunity at this stage of his career.