Lingard yet to peak ahead of England return – ‘I feel like I’m 25!’


est Ham loanee Jesse Lingard believes he will get even better if he is given the chance to play “a proper full season” for the first time in his career.

Lingard is back in the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers after thriving since joining the Hammers on loan from Manchester United in January.

The 28-year-old is the third oldest outfield player in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the matches against San Marino, Albania and Poland but the most Premier League starts he has ever made in a single campaign is 20 – for Jose Mourinho’s United in 2017-18.

West Ham do not have an automatic option to buy Lingard in the summer and his future remains unresolved, but the attacking midfielder has already turned his attentions to playing a full campaign.

“Players are obviously used to playing full seasons and I don’t think I’ve ever played a proper full season before,” Lingard told Standard Sport.

“I still feel like I’m 25. A lot more players have played full seasons, I’ve not really. So I don’t feel like I’m at my peak yet. If I carry on this form, consistency and focus, we’ll see what the future holds. I’m happy at the moment, playing football with a smile on my face and that’s the main thing.

“When I went on loan, I had to start quick and I’m just playing my natural game at the moment. I’m comfortable. Now it’s just about keeping consistency – that’s what I’ve lacked sometimes over the years. It’s about focus, going into each game with the same mentality.

“I think I can go far. There’s a lot more to come, a lot more to learn but I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

The FA via Getty Images

In just seven appearances for his new club, Lingard has scored five goals, assisted three more and won two penalties, helping to maintain the Hammers’ unexpected push for Champions League football.

He revealed he had offers to join clubs in France and Spain during the transfer window but was advised to remain in the Premier League by England boss Southgate.

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