‘Misunderstood’ Lingard reveals England recall ambition & backs 'great' man-manager Southgate to stay on
- Playmaker left Man Utd over the summer
- Joined Forest as a free agent
- Wants to add to 32 international caps
WHAT HAPPENED? The 29-year-old playmaker, who left Manchester United as a free agent in the summer of 2022, missed out on a place in the Three Lions’ squad which suffered a World Cup quarter-final defeat to France in Qatar. The last of his 32 caps was earned against Andorra in October 2021 but, with a spark being rediscovered at Forest, Lingard believes he can force his way back into the fold.
WHAT THEY SAID: Lingard has told The Athletic: “I would definitely hope to get back in there (the England squad). All I can do is perform well at Forest and hope I can do enough to get that call-up. I am positive. The last few results you could see that I am enjoying it; that I am playing with confidence.”
Change is being mooted inside the England camp, but Lingard added when asked if Gareth Southgate remains the best manager to take the team forward: “I would definitely like to see him carry on. His man-management is great. He wants to understand you as a person; he wants to get to know your family and understand them. The World Cup I was involved in was so family-orientated. You got to see your family on a regular basis. He has it in his power to make you, as a player, feel comfortable. He has experience and he has a knack of making you better. I would love to see him stay on.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Lingard faces fierce competition for midfield spots inside the England squad, but insists he will not change his ways in order to earn a recall – with a bubbly character adamant that he is fully committed to his football despite boasting a number of ventures away from the field. He added: “Am I misunderstood? Yes, sometimes. But I love training. I love football. I love games. I always want to work hard. That is how you get the best out of me, when I work hard. There might be a tackle that lifts the crowd or just a moment that makes the crowd sit up and think, ‘He is on it today’. You need that intensity. I love winning. I could stay on the training ground all day. But the hard work side of things should be pretty normal for any professional, shouldn’t it? I can be misunderstood at times. But I will just carry on. I will do what I do and not listen to the noise.”
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WHAT NEXT? Lingard is currently readying himself for a return to Old Trafford, with Forest set to face Manchester United on December 27 in their first Premier League outing after the World Cup break.