Jesse Lingard will return to Manchester United for the first time since leaving the club last summer as Nottingham Forest play at Old Trafford in the Premier League..
Jesse Lingard has opened up on his “frustrating” final season at Manchester United as he claims he was given “false promises” by the club.
Lingard, 30, joined Nottingham Forest as a free agent in the summer after his deal at Old Trafford was allowed to expire – bringing an end to 22-year stay at the club whom he had joined as a seven-year-old.
The midfielder started just two Premier Leaguematches last season for his boyhood club as he was continually overlooked for selection by boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his successor Ralf Rangnick, as he fell out of favour in the first-team squad.
Lingard had opted against leaving the club the previous summer, following his return from a loan spell at West Ham, to fight for a first-team place but he was unable to break into the starting line-up following the arrivals of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I don’t know why I wasn’t playing. I don’t know what the problem was, whether it was politics or whatever,” explains Lingard, speaking in an interview with the Telegraph. “I still haven’t got an answer to this day. I didn’t even ask. I’d rather that someone out of respect for me being there that long told me ‘this is why you’re not playing’, but I never got that.
“It was false promises. I was training hard and I was sharp, I was ready to play them games. When you’re working hard in training and don’t play at the end of it, it’s very frustrating.”
Speaking separately to SPORTbible, Lingard reflected on not being given a send-off by the club in the final home game of last season against Brentford: “I was itching to get on. I was trying but, like I say, it didn’t happen.”
Lingard will return to Old Trafford for the first time since leaving the club on Tuesday with Forest. “It’ll be good to hopefully get a send-off,” Lingard explains. “Obviously I didn’t do one last time.
So, It’ll be good to see the fans and my old teammates again. But we’ll be going there to win. It’s not about seeing friends again. It’s an important game, which we need to win.”
Lingard began his career by heading out on loan to Leicester City, Birmingham City, Derby County and Brighton and Hove Albion. He would become a more established first team member under Louis van Gaal – scoring the winner in the 2016 FA Cupfinal at Wembley.
Lingard also scored goals in the Carabao Cup final success of 2017 and the Community Shield win over Leicester City a matter of months earlier. As a teenager he was part of the famous FA Youth Cup side that saw off Sheffield United – playing alongside the likes of Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison.