West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has urged his side to do everything in their power to agree a permanent deal for Jesse Lingard.
The 28-year-old moved down south from Manchester United in January on a six-month loan deal.
He had encountered a struggle for match minutes, but has exploded into form since his arrival in east London. Indeed, the attacking midfielder has chipped in with three goals and an assist in four Premier League appearances.
“Jesse is a top player. I knew this from when I played with him for England. He’s a ridiculously top, top player,” he said.
“You know when you’re playing with a top player, he takes the ball on the half-turn, takes the ball in tight areas, relieves the pressure on you.
“When you give him the ball you know he’s going to do something with it, and obviously what comes with that is he’s got a great personality as well.”
Lingard’s form since breaking through at United culminated in his place at the 2018 World Cup.
However, he struggled for game time after that, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggling to find a place for the midfielder.
As such, he could now open a door to a potential extension at West Ham, although there is no option to buy in the deal with United.
“All the lads have really taken to him and I’m so happy we’ve got him here now at West Ham,” Rice added.
“Hopefully we can do that for much longer for next season as well!”
Lingard could also pose England problem
Should Lingard continue with his form and stay injury-free, he would also make his case for a return to Gareth Southgate’s England fold.
However, the competition for places in midfield has increased significantly this season. Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, James Maddison and Mason Mount have all shown strong form.
Southgate could offer a clue as to his plans for Euro 2020 when he names his squad for World Cup qualifiers in March.
Lingard impressed in West Ham’s win over Tottenham on Sunday and outlined how he has settled in “really quickly”.