Jesse Lingard explains how West Ham’s no phone policy helped his mental health struggles

It can be easy to forget how Jesse Lingard’s 2020-21 campaign was a mixed bag.

The England international began the season at parent club Manchester United and hardly made it off the bench for the first-half of the season. It felt like he was a player reaching breaking point, shot of confidence or any self-belief.

But in the dying embers of the January transfer window, a loan move saw Lingard reunited with former Manchester United manager David Moyes, at West Ham. The move worked in his favour as Lingard scored nine times and assisted a further five goals in 16 appearances for the Irons.

For all his work West Ham qualified for the Europa League this season, though the midfielder wanted to come back to Old Trafford and fight for his place when the loan expired.

So far this season, the midfielder has managed just 45 minutes of action under Solskjaer, and scored a crucial winner against the Hammers.

In the Players Tribune, Lingard has published an article outling how important his move to West Ham was for his own mental health.

He revealed that by the time of the first lockdown in March 2020, his mental health had plummeted, writing: “I had pretty much written myself off.”

Lingard added that West Ham’s no phone policy had a dramatic effect on him too.

“In my personal life, I buried myself in my phone. Face glued to screens. You might get a mm-hmm out of me in a conversation, but I wasn’t really listening. I was bottling it all up. All these emotions and all this stress.”

He wasn’t allowed to do that under Moyes.

“I remember on one of my first away games, I was sitting in the back of his car on the way to the airport. It was just me, him and Aaron Cresswell.

“Immediately, I was on my phone. Just automatic, as you do. But he wasn’t having any of it. He turned to me saying, “Whoa, no phones allowed in here! We talk.”

“I was like, “O.K. … fine.

“On the plane, I would normally whack the headphones on and listen to music, but Nobes and the rest of the guys wouldn’t stand for it.

“It was like that everywhere at West Ham, proper conversations about everything. No phones, no social media. No more mm-hmm. If we were having dinner at a hotel, we’d stay down there for ages just talking. It helped us bond as a team, and personally, it helped me a lot.”

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