Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard opens up on mental health struggles which led to him ‘resorting to drink’
Lingard’s career revival
Jesse Lingard enjoyed something of a career revival in the second half of 2020/21.
The 28-year-old majorly struggled for any sort of regular action with Manchester United over the first half of the 2020/21 campaign.
He notched just three appearances for the Red Devils, all of which came in cup competitions.
As a result, it didn’t come as too much of a surprise when United allowed Lingard to depart Old Trafford on loan during the winter window.
What did prove surprising, though, was just how impressive the midfielder looked with West Ham.
In 16 league outings for David Moyes’ outfit, Lingard notched nine goals and five assists, playing a key role in the Hammers securing a Europa League berth for the 2021/22 season.
Lingard’s mental health struggles
Before his resurgence at West Ham though, Lingard looks to have been in a pretty dark place.
The midfielder, as briefly mentioned, became a bit-part player at United during 2019/20 and in the first half of the 2020/21 campaign.
And this looks to have really impacted the 28-year-old’s mental health.
Speaking in a recent interview, Lingard revealed that because he was not playing he was down, his confidence was shot and that, during the bad periods, he turned to drink:
“We had times during the bad periods when I started to resort to drinking at night and that wasn’t me.
“My dad’s never been a big drinker. My mum’s never been a big drinker. I was bottling up so much in my head that I had resorted to drinking to try to ease the pain.
“[Lingard’s brother] Louie was looking at me and thinking, ‘That’s not my brother’. I’ve never been a big drinker, but I was resorting to that for my own peace. When I finally opened up and started speaking to family, it really helped. I owe it to them.
“My confidence was shot. You can be that happy-go-lucky guy, bouncing around the training ground, but deep down you’re wearing that smile as a mask.
“I wasn’t playing so I was down. Luckily I had Louie sending me videos from my Under 21 days for United and England. He was trying to make me realise what a good player I’d been.
“‘Watch this! Watch this!’ So I did and thought, ‘You know what? I can’t throw this away’. It gave me confidence, and that first lockdown gave me a chance to re-evaluate what I wanted in life.”
Quotes via Goal.
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