Jesse Lingard’s struggles at Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over the past two years was well documented, but he has gotten his career back on track following a loan move to West Ham in January.
Lingard had a wonderful season with West Ham where he scored 9 goals in 16 appearances, with also four assists to his name.
The Hammers tried to sign Lingard permanently but United opted not to sell.
Lingard has now taken his fine form to the national team as he scored a brace in England’s 4-0 win over Andorra.
Speaking after the game, England boss Gareth Southgate was full of praise for Lingard and also admitted that he has a challenge ahead of him in a star-studded Manchester United squad.
He said: “We know Jesse has a challenge and he knows he has a big challenge with the quality of attacking players at United. But they’ve also got a lot of matches in different competitions so hopefully he can take that challenge on and he will take that challenge on.”
He went on: “He has rebounded brilliantly in the last 12 months from a difficult period and he has shown today that he has got quality. It is not necessarily the quality of the opponent but it is performing with the quality of players that we have and stand out. That shows his level of quality.
“I know that I have had criticism for including him in squads but he is just a player that always plays well for us. He is always a threat on goal with bright link play. When we ask him to start wide, we know he will come in and do the give-and-gos.”
He added: “He has really good intelligence and works hard without the ball and presses well. Today, I thought he was the brightest spark, particularly in the first half as it was the type of game where those players who can manipulate the ball between the lines would shine more than others.”