Manchester United loanee attacking midfielder, Jesse Lingard has revealed that Gareth Southgate’s advice was instrumental for his decision to stay in the Premier League which has now earned him an England recall.
Southgate’s 50th game as England boss ended well as the Three Lions won by 5-0 in their World Cup qualifying campaign against San Marino at Wembley on Thursday.
His first, against Malta in October 2016, was also Lingard’s international debut and the attacking midfielder became one of Southgate’s key performers as England charted a surprise run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup.
However, struggles for form and fitness at Manchester United, along with difficulties in his private life, saw Lingard fall out of the Three Lions picture.
In January he joined West Ham on loan and has been a revitalized player.
Five goals in seven Premier League appearances for David Moyes’ men earned an England recall for the 28-year-old, who thanked Southgate for his counsel and his influence over the Hammers move.
“He’s shown a lot of support and belief in me, he gave me my England debut, which I’m proud of.
“I still kept in contact with him even though I wasn’t playing, just to get his advice on what I should do.
“It was just about the right move, whether it was going out to Europe or staying in the Premier League.
“He said, ‘If I was you, I would stay in the Premier League. After that, it was about finding a Premier League side and West Ham fitted in perfectly,” Lingard told talkSPORT.
Since his West Ham debut against Aston Villa on February 3, only Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho (six) has more Premier League goals than Lingard (five), while he is level with England captain Harry Kane and Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan over the period in question.
His 12 shots on target are a joint Premier League best along with Kane, giving him a shot conversion rate of 23.8.
Lingard also has two assists for the Hammers and has created eight opportunities for team-mates overall.