Forest star Lingard claims he’s ‘misunderstood’ as he looks forward to ’emotional’ Man Utd return

Date published: Thursday 15th December 2022 11:47 - Joe Williams

Ex-Man Utd winger Jesse Lingard celebrates scoring a goal

Nottingham Forest winger Jesse Lingard thinks he has been “misunderstood at times” during his career as he looks forward to returning to Old Trafford.

The 29-year-old scored 35 goals in 232 appearances for the Red Devils, winning the FA Cup, League Cup and the Europa League during his time at Man Utd.

But he only made 25 appearances in all competitions in his final two seasons at Old Trafford – which included a six-month loan spell at West Ham – and left Man Utd in search of regular football.

Lingard turned down the Hammers to sign for newly-promoted Nottingham Forest but he’s yet to get an assist or a goal in the Premier League as Steve Cooper’s side struggled in the early part of the season.

The England international was criticised at times during his time at Man Utd but Lingard claims he was just “misunderstood” a lot of the time.

“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,” Lingard told The Athletic.

“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.”

Forest face Man Utd on December 27 in their first Premier League match back after the World Cup and Lingard admits his return to Old Trafford will be “emotional”.

Lingard added: “I am excited about going back to Old Trafford. I will go there wanting to win — that is the most important thing. It will be emotional on one front. But we have a job to do.

“If we can get three points, that is the most important thing. I will look forward to catching up with a lot of people after the game. But I want to do that after a win.

“I wanted to play regular football. It is hard sitting on the bench. It was my time to move on. I knew it would benefit me, if I moved to Nottingham. I had lots of conversations with the owners; with the Marinakis family.

“They showed a lot of love towards me. You have to go into a team where you feel wanted. I felt that more from them than from anyone else.”

On the City Ground atmosphere and his time at Forest so far, Lingard continued: “The atmosphere is one of the best I have experienced. I get goosebumps every single time I hear them singing (Mull of Kintyre) before kick-off,” Lingard said.

“The home games will be vital for us because we have our fans backing us and that does make a difference. It is a new experience; a different experience — but I am taking it on and loving it. I just like to enjoy the moment.

“I am in a good space. It can take a bit of time to settle in. But in the Tottenham game in particular, I felt so much more like myself. That carried on into the Palace game. I wanted to carry on. But the break will have done us good. The training camp trip to Greece (where Forest went during the World Cup break) will have helped with team bonding. It was a good chance to get to know people.”

READ MORE: Transfer gossip: Man Utd ask about Benfica striker who replaced Cristiano Ronaldo


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