Jesse Lingard joined West Ham United on loan in January.
He had only made three appearances for Manchester United all season, had not appeared for England since 2019 and had only one goal in the Premier League since December 2018.
What a transformation. The 28-year-old’s two goals in the Hammer’s 3-2 win over Leicester continued his remarkable form that has made him one of the form players in Europe.
Is he about to release West Ham into the Champions League? And has he earned a starting place for England at the European Summer Championships?
Lingard’s immediate influence in the Champions League
West Ham was already at the top of the top 4 when they signed Lingard But his form has helped establish the Hammers as true Champions League competitors.
The Warrington-born striker has scored eight goals in nine Premier League games, his best record of a season to date – eight in 33 games in 2017-18. West Ham have won six of those nine games and only one against leaders Manchester City lost to fourth with seven games left.
“I have confidence and instinct at the moment,” said Lingard after Sunday’s win. “It’s knowing where the players are going to put it. It’s great, every game is like a cup final.”
Manchester United manager David Moyes added: “We were surprised by Jesse’s goals. We always knew he had the ability to create things, but his goals gave us something else.”
Since his West Ham debut when he was twice in one 3-1 win at Aston Villa On February 3, Lingard scored eleven goals (three assists) – two more than any other Premier League player.
In the five best leagues in Europe, only four more players have won – Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (17), Romelu Lukaku (13) from Inter Milan, Luis Muriel from Atalanta and Gerard Moreno from Villarreal (both 12).
Former West Ham defender Matthew Upson told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Everything went according to plan for David Moyes and West Ham. They were excellent when they had to and the difference is the added quality of Jesse Lingard.
“What a signature he was. It was brilliant for West Ham and for him personally it was a great move.”
Former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas said on MOTD2: “He’s having his best season and it’s an example of how he feels.
“He has a manager who trusts him and plays in a position that suits him. He’s a great player in this football club and he shows that – he delivers.
“This is a player who is at the top of his game. When he was at United he was sometimes left, sometimes right, sometimes lower. Was he able to play with the freedom as he is now?”
“If West Ham make it into the Champions League, I think the business of bringing Lingard into the club will be the reason they get there.”
Ex-Manchester United captain Roy Keane added on Sky Sports: “He showed up at West Ham. After not playing much football, he stayed in shape. Maybe he turned away from the ball.” [Manchester] United, but he’s a talented boy and always has. “
It took Lingard nine games to hit double-digit Premier League goal participation (eight goals, three assists), faster than any other West Ham player – Paul Kitson did so in twelve games in 1997
What’s next for Lingard?
West Ham Lingard plans to sign a permanent deal this summer, according to BBC sports soccer reporter Simon Stone.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer previously said he would like to keep Lingard, but he also knows a sale could generate revenue that can be used to strengthen his squad.
With Lingard’s contract with Manchester United expiring in 2022, West Ham believes it is possible that an agreement can be reached on a fee.
Lingard joined the Hammers after not playing for Manchester United in either the Premier League or the Champions League that season.
“It’s been a tough time building credit,” he told MOTDx last month. “You train all week before the game and then you don’t get selected.
“It was a lockdown and I looked back at old games with England and Manchester United and got the fire in my stomach again.”
Upson added on BBC Radio 5 Live, “I’m sure that given his form this season he will have a lot of teams looking at him. What a signature it would be if West Ham could get him permanently.”
It would have been easy for me to give up – Lingard
The Hammers hope to offer him Champions League football next season and Lingard was asked on Sunday if he would like to be a part of it.
“It would be a great achievement,” he said. “It would be the first time in [West Ham’s] History and doing something like that would be special. “
From forgotten man to English starter?
Lingard already deserved one Callback to the English squad, He played in all three World Cup qualifiers last month to make 27 international appearances.
If he maintains this form, could he start at the European Championships this summer?
Lingard, who was watched by England coach Gareth Southgate at the London Stadium, will face competition from Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount.
“The euro would be the icing on the cake,” added Lingard. “It would be a good comeback story.”
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“Get him on that plane” – best social media response
Sho: Another game. Another goal for Jesse Lingard. Ridiculous form he’s in.
Bobby Seagull: I can’t believe how impressive Lingard has been since joining West Ham. He played with joy and freedom and expressed himself on the pitch and even won back an English squad place. I really hope he can sign a permanent contract. Champions League for West Ham ?!
Karl: If Jesse continues like this, Southgate can’t just ignore him. Unreal for West Ham at the moment !!
Alexsander Todorov: Jesse Lingard strikes again. Unreal turning point for him. He has definitely proven that I and many others are wrong. Get him on the Gareth Southgate plane.
Matt Bannon: Just shows what happens when you are made a focus point of a team instead of helping make someone else the focus point. Well done Jesse.
Daniel Makwa: I love his attitude because he was eliminated from the United team.