Inside Jesse Lingard's tough season at Nottingham Forest from his attitude behind the scenes to why he snubbed West Ham | The Sun

JESSE LINGARD is running out of time to prove he was more than a poster boy signing for the new Nottingham Forest.

When Lingard became the 11th of 21 players recruited in Forest’s trolley dash last summer, it was hailed as a massive coup.

Not least by Miltiadis Marinakis — son of club owner Evangelos — whose personal relationship with Lingard was crucial to Forest beating West Ham and other clubs to the signature of the former England star.

A source said: “Signing someone like Jesse Lingard made people think Forest were serious. That they weren’t just coming up to the Premier League to go back down, like another Norwich.

“Him coming in probably helped them sign other players like Morgan Gibbs-White.

“But for whatever reasons it hasn’t worked out for Lingard or for Forest.”


How Man Utd could line up next season with HUGE midfield overhaul planned

Win an incredible Rolex or £12k cash alternative from just 89p with our discount code

Lingard joined on a free after his contract at Manchester United expired — his one-year deal sees him paid £115,000 a week but he has not pulled up any trees at Forest.

Steve Cooper’s team are back in the bottom three after 30 Premier League games and their big-name acquisition is yet to produce a single goal or assist.

Injuries have been a factor, the most significant coming on his return to Old Trafford two days after Christmas.

It was Lingard’s 11th start in the first 16 league matches but he came off with a hamstring problem as Forest lost 3-0.

Most read in Football


England ace Dele Alli parties hard with pals on night of hippy crack pic


Jesse Lingard to face trial after ‘giving fake name’ to cops over driving offence


Chelsea owner Boehly rows with fans from directors' box as boos ring at Bridge


Stoke star Ben Wilmot stretchered off on oxygen with serious head injury


He made his comeback as a substitute in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final, also against United, only to feel an Achilles niggle in the warm-up ahead of the second leg.

Lingard has had issues off the pitch too — he is due to stand trial in July after denying he provided false details when his Range Rover was flashed by a speed camera on the A56 near Old Trafford in August last year.

Perhaps both Lingard and Forest were unrealistic when the deal was done.

It was always going to be physically tough to go from starting two Premier League games for United last season to playing regularly, especially for someone who turned 30 in December.

But despite doubts about his ability to train hard enough to regain the necessary fitness, Lingard is a popular figure at Forest.

While the attitude of other signings has been questioned, he is hailed for his backroom contribution at least.

A source said: “He is no ‘Billy-big-time,’ he enjoys a bit of banter and he is always cheerful.

“You never see him down in the dumps, which is unusual for any player who has spent a lot of time out with injuries.

A fully-fit Lingard is a big asset… perhaps he can be Steve Cooper’s supersub

“Whenever a new signing arrives at Forest, he makes a fuss of them and goes out of his way to make them feel welcome.

“He is generous with his time and is genuinely a really likeable, popular member of the squad.”

The fact remains Lingard has played just 58 minutes of football since pulling out of that Carabao Cup second leg with United on February 1.

Cooper gave him a chance to prove himself against Spurs on March 11, only to take him off at half-time as they lost 3-1.

Any impact Lingard makes against United today is likely to be from the bench.

But Forest legend Garry Birtles, who made the opposite journey from the City Ground to Old Trafford in 1980, believes Lingard could yet make his mark. He said: “I really feel for Jesse.

“I had nine months out at United when I required a spinal fusion operation which obviously had a huge impact on my time at Old Trafford.

“I know what he’s going through. I’m not sure how fit he is but a fully-fit Lingard going into the end of the season would be a big asset.

“He is only 30 and he has the ability to make things happen but perhaps he has to do that from the bench.

“I used to play against a guy called David Fairclough at Liverpool who used to come on and destroy teams.

Read More on The Sun

I worked for a vet – 8 dog breeds I’d never own include ‘rude, loud little rats’

Inside Emmerdale star Joe-Warren Plant’s milestone birthday

“They called him ‘Supersub’, so perhaps Jesse can be Steve Cooper’s supersub who can come on for 15-20 minutes and make an impact at a critical time in the season.”

FOREST (likely): Navas, Williams, Worrall, Felipe, Toffolo, Freuler, Mangala, Danilo, Gibbs-White, Johnson, Awoniyi

Source: Read Full Article