Jesse Lingard, who battled back from a career-low point last season, has spoken about his Manchester United football club teammate Bruno Fernandes claiming him ‘wonderful’ support. Owing to a successful loan spell at West Ham, the 28-year-old went from being United’s forgotten man to one of the season’s best performers in 2020/21.
Following the high of the 2018 World Cup, Lingard recounted how he fell ‘as low as I’d ever been’ due to a combination of physical and emotional issues in an enlightening piece for The Players’ Tribune. “I couldn’t get back to where I had been,” the midfielder wrote. “I was struggling mentally as well as physically. There was the off-field stuff with my mum and her battle with depression. I’ve talked about it before, and that isn’t what this story is about — but that affected me, too. It’s my mum, you know?”
“Not playing only made things worse. But when I finally did play, even when I was fit again … I wasn’t me. My family kept coming to games, but they couldn’t even watch me. They were like, ‘This ain’t you. This ain’t your aura.’ Games were passing me by like I wasn’t there. Like a ghost.”
Lingard described how Fernandes was a constant source of encouragement for him even when he was at his lowest. He wrote: “I even remember Bruno Fernandes coming to me before a game and saying, ‘Today I want to see the Jesse Lingard that I know.’ All I could think was, ‘Mate, I can’t, ’cause this is not me!'”
Scoring nine goals in just 16 Premier League appearances Lingard regained his form and confidence at West Ham and won both the Goal and Player of the Month honours in April. Lingard wrote: “After that [the Premier League awards] Bruno Fernandes referred to me as the ‘best player in the Premier League’ in an interview with United … me!! Can you believe that?!? That’s coming from Bruno! I’ve got a lot of love for Bruno. He was dropping me messages of support throughout my loan. To get that recognition from someone at his level was just amazing.”