Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard has said he is "raring to go" as the season enters the crucial Christmas period after enduring a slow start to 2018-19 following his exertions for England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
A niggling thigh injury eventually saw the 25-year-old have to miss most of October. But he hinted he is now back to full fitness after netting his first club goal of the season against Arsenal on Wednesday, per Simon Peach of the Press Association (h/t MailOnline):
"We didn't get much rest obviously in the summer after the World Cup, so coming back there's always going to be little niggles here and there. Obviously it got to a point where I couldn't carry on, so that break did me well and I am raring to go now. It was an enjoyable summer and a good season for me on a personal level last season. I wanted to kick-start this season in the same form and obviously you have setbacks throughout the season, but it's how you bounce back."
United manager Jose Mourinho will likely be delighted to have a fit and motivated Lingard to call upon as the Red Devils injury list is frustratingly long.
The Manchester giants are in the midst of a four-game winless run in the Premier League that has seen them slip down to eighth in the table:
Any hopes of United competing for the title are already gone, and their chances of sealing a top-four finish are dwindling by the week.
However, Lingard said there is still confidence in the squad of securing a UEFA Champions League spot despite their poor start: "Yeah, I think we believe as a squad. It's a long way to go in the season, so for us it's about taking every game as it comes and trying to get the three points. That's the main thing. Especially this month there's a lot of games, so we need everyone in the squad to be fully fit."
United have an excellent opportunity to get back to winning ways on Saturday as they face bottom-of-the-table Fulham at Old Trafford.
The west London side have improved since replacing manager Slavisa Jokanovic with Claudio Ranieri midway through last month.
But they are still shipping goals at an alarming rate, and the likes of Lingard and Marcus Rashford should be able to get at a defence that has conceded 36 goals in 15 matches.