Jesse Lingard is playing the best football of his career and should have no hesitation in making his move to West Ham permanent should the opportunity arise.
Lingard, 28, has been a revelation since making a January switch to the London Stadium. After failing to make a Premier League appearance for the Red Devils this term, he has shone for the Hammers. The Warrington-born forward has already bagged eight goals and assisted four more from nine top-flight appearances. His form has helped David Moyes’s side continue their push for Champions League football.
His future, however, remains far from certain. There is talk United could look to intergrate Lingard back in their side next season. The situation is further complicated by United’s reportedly crazily-high price placed on the player.
Furthermore, Lingard has since been linked with other suitors, with Tottenham, Leicester and now Arsenal also tipped to sign him.
Were he to return to United, it’s claimed Lingard has set United two big conditions.
However, speaking to BBC’s Match of the Day 2, Jermaine Jenas is adamant that Lingard should stay at West Ham.
Jenas: “You can see by the stats he’s having his best season. Eight goals in nine starts for West Ham is an example about how [happy] he feels at the football club.
“He’s got a manager that trusts him, he’s playing in a position that suits him. Lingard is much further forward on the pitch which is why he’s getting involved much more. I just think, he’s a big player at this football club and essentially he’s showing that now at West Ham. He’s dictating play.
“He’s an intelligent footballer. This is a player playing at the top of his game. It’s not a coincidence he’s scoring all these goals. Look how high up the pitch he is. When he was at United, sometimes he was on the right, sometimes the left, sometimes a little deeper.
“Now he’s at West Ham, he can cheat a bit, hang up the pitch a bit higher and make things happen.”
Jenas also believes if West Ham do secure Champions League football, it will be entirely down to Lingard.
“In my opinion, if West Ham get into the top four and the Champions League, that bit of business [Lingard] will be the reason they get there,” Jenas added.
Lingard for England
Jenas, meanwhile, also thinks the watching Gareth Southgate will have been impressed.
Lingard was back in the fold for the recent World Cup qualifiers. And Jenas thinks his form makes him a certain starter during the European Championships.
Jenas added: “Lingard should be nailed on for England. He is at the point now where he has to start for Gareth Southgate’s side at this summer’s Euros. When you watch what he is doing and the positions he picks up, you notice the intelligence that he shows.”
Speaking about his recent recall, Lingard admits he has a strong bond with Southgate.
“He’s shown a lot of support and a lot of belief in me. He was the first one to give 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.
“We carried on speaking and then the loan happened so I didn’t speak to him after the loan. It was just about me working hard for West Ham and trying to get the call-up.
“I’d been two years out and hadn’t played a lot of football so it was in my head that I might go or might not go. But I’m glad I’m here now and that he showed that belief in me.”