Jesse Lingard Reveals Mother's Illness Has Affected His Manchester United Form

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2019

Manchester United's English midfielder Jesse Lingard (C) warms up for the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on December 7, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
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Manchester United's Jesse Lingard has spoken about the worry and stress he's suffered because of his mother's recent ill health. 

Speaking to Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail, Lingard explained he's had to care for his younger brother and sister, and concern for his mother has impacted his demeanour and form on the pitch.

The England international said he decided to speak out about his issues after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer challenged him over his declining performances.

"I wasn't performing, and he was on me all the time. He wanted more from me," Lingard said. "So I felt it was best to get everything off my chest and tell him why my head wasn't right. So I knocked on his door."

Manchester United's English midfielder Jesse Lingard (R) shakes hands with Manchester United's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) on the pitch after  the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Cardiff City at Old Traff
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Lingard explained he's very close to his family, and in addition to his mother's illness, his grandfather has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The midfielder is now caring for his siblings, aged 14 and 11, along with his own one-year-old daughter:

"I have been down and glum; just worrying. I felt like everybody just passed all the stuff to me and it weighed on my shoulders. It was like, 'Here you go Jesse, you deal with this on your own.'

"My mum has had some things for years but never really got help. Now she is. So I have been taking care of my brother and sister. They are with me. It has been tough to see my loved ones struggling and then I have to come to work and try to do my job."

Lingard added he found it difficult to talk about the issues he faced and decided to deal with his emotions on his own. However, spiralling form saw him lose his place with United and England, prompting him to open up.

"I've had to mature and wise up," Lingard said. "Sometimes when your worries are so deep you can't function properly. Now it's about getting back to my best, and I feel I can do that."

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 13: Jesse Lingard of Manchester United hugs Manager of Manchester United Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he is substituted during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on January 13,
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The player said his conversation with Solskjaer boosted his confidence and helped him focus on his game once again.

Lingard also addressed his use of social media and admitted he has made errors. Solskjaer was angered by a video posted by the Warrington-born player last summer, and Lingard said the Norwegian told him he was on his "last chance" at Old Trafford.

The forward has recently recaptured his form and played vital roles in the victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.

Lingard has started just six Premier League games this term and has been used as a substitute seven times by United.

The 26-year-old has been a useful option for the Red Devils over the years, and his experience is vital to Solskjaer, with United opting to promote youth.

Lingard recently captained United for the first time, and if he can continue to improve his form, he could fight his way back to a regular starting role for club and country.


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