Street running with Ravel Morrison, bonding with Declan Rice and hiring a personal chef… the key to Jesse Lingard’s stunning form since joining West Ham on loan from Manchester United as he targets the Champions League and a Euro 2020 place
- Jesse Lingard has been in stunning form since joining West Ham United on loan
- Hammers midfielder has been key to east London side’s Champions League push
- On loan from Manchester United, he has settled very well at the London Stadium
The secret to Jesse Lingard’s resurrection? A personal chef, pounding Manchester pavements with Ravel Morrison and an introduction to London life with Declan Rice and Mark Noble.
Lingard’s season had been going nowhere, but now he’s on the verge of leading West Ham to the Champions League and en route to the Euros.
Yet there is nothing coincidental about his revival, a story of a man close to rock-bottom yet finding the strength to maintain professionalism.
Jesse Lingard has been sensational since joining West Ham on loan at the start of the year
Three cup appearances for Manchester United was all he had to show for the first five months of the season. It was mental torture with Covid and his mother’s illness taking their toll. ‘I could have easily quit in lockdown. Not quit football, just have a time-out, really,’ he told YouTube chat show Presenting.
‘I was going into games happy sitting on the bench, and that’s not me. 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’re tense, you’re stressed and you can’t do it. 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.’
Lingard’s (left) revival has partly been down to his focus on fitness and health, and he has been running with former Manchester United youth team-mate Ravel Morrison (right). Both are pictured with Paul Pogba after winning the FA Youth Cup in 2011
Fast-forward a few months and the 28-year-old is feeling more like his old self.
Lingard hadn’t kicked a ball in the Premier League since July 2020.
He joined the Hammers on loan in January and hit the ground running — nine goals and three assists in 10 appearances is a rich return. More of the same against Chelsea on Saturday and West Ham could climb above their London rivals, into the final Champions League slot.
His revival has nothing to do with fortune but rather intense dedication. He has been planning it all season. Lingard is meticulous with his diet, with high-protein and low-fat meals the order of the day.
Lingard had found himself frozen out of the Manchester United set-up this term
He has formed an excellent relationship with fellow midfielder Declan Rice at West Ham
He has been known to take it to extremes on occasion — picking the unhealthy foods out of his meals when at a restaurant.
His decision to hire a personal cook to prepare his meals on a weekly basis has also benefited Lingard. While nutrition is part and parcel of professional sport, Lingard takes it far more seriously than others.
His street running sessions with former Manchester United team-mates Morrison and Larnell Cole are said to have played an integral role in ensuring his body remained in peak condition.
Lingard is now hoping to seal a spot at the European Championship this summer with England
The transition from living in Manchester to London has been relatively pain-free. His plush apartment in the east end overlooks the London Stadium.
He has developed a close bond with international team-mate Rice, while club captain Noble is also said to have been helpful in Lingard settling.
Lingard watched highlight reel videos of himself on YouTube in search of rekindling his best form earlier this season, while the impact of David Moyes has been a major factor behind his resurgence.
The attacking midfielder is desperate to repay the faith Moyes has shown in him. And Moyes is equally desperate to sign him permanently. No wonder.
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