Jesse Lingard, a former Manchester United star with a 22-year association with the club, has been spotted training in Saudi Arabia as he looks to make his return to club football. Lingard’s journey with Manchester United began when he was just eight years old in 2000, signing on with the academy.
Lingard was part of the team that clinched the 2011 FA Youth Cup, and his performances alongside talented players such as Paul Pogba, Michael Keane, and Ravel Morrison garnered significant attention from the footballing world.
The latter trio (Paul Pogba, Michael Keane, and Ravel Morrison) were all transferred by manager Alex Ferguson at the time. In contrast, Lingard was gradually developed within the first team and demonstrated promise during various loan spells at Leicester, Birmingham, Brighton, and Derby County.
His rise to stardom commenced during the 2015/16 season under Louis Van Gaal, and he played a pivotal role in helping the Red Devils secure FA Cup victory by scoring the winning goal in the final against Crystal Palace.
Lingard’s consistent form earned him 32 caps for the England national team over the subsequent six years. Additionally, he contributed to further success for his childhood club, securing trophies such as the Europa League, Carabao Cup, and Community Shield.
In 2020, the Former Man midfielder began to slide down the pecking order at Old Trafford and was subsequently loaned out to West Ham. During his time there, he showcased some of the best form of his career, netting nine goals in 16 appearances.
Despite Former Man being heavily linked with a return to West Ham following his successful loan spell, Lingard opted to stay at Manchester United to complete the final year of his contract. However, his subsequent one-year stint at Nottingham Forest proved to be unsuccessful, and he has remained a free agent since the conclusion of last season.
Earlier this month, Moyes commented on Lingard’s progress, stating, “Jesse’s doing quite well, and he’s getting his shape back. But there will be no discussion on Jesse just yet. When we’re ready, we will do; but he’s working hard, and he’s shown a great attitude to his work. It’s taken a bit of time to get him back into condition.”
Recent reports had suggested that a deal was imminent for Lingard to join Al-Ettifaq, but the move has not yet materialized. Instead, Lingard now seems to be exploring other options. Al-Ettifaq shared a social media post featuring Lingard participating in a training session with the caption: “Enjoy Ettifaq’s Wednesday night session featuring a new face.”
If the move to Al-Ettifaq does happen, Former Man Lingard would have a limited amount of time to impress manager Steven Gerrard. Additionally, he would reunite with former England teammate Jordan Henderson at the club. Al-Ettifaq is currently in fourth place in the Saudi Pro League with five wins from their first seven matches, and Lingard’s addition could boost their chances in the title race.
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