Jesse Lingard has reflected on feeling “frozen out” at Manchester United in his final season at the club.
He will return to Old Trafford for the first time since his permanent exit tomorrow when United host Nottingham Forest in their return to Premier League action following the World Cup.
Lingard joined Forest in the summer on a free transfer. He saw out his deal with the Red Devils and the club opted against an extension or new contract for the academy graduate.
The Cheshire-born attacker had been at United for over 20 years, completing five loan spells in that time and making over 200 appearances for the club.
After falling out of favour in 2021, he signed for West Ham United on loan in January for the remainder of the season. The spell revitalised his career and even led to him being called up to represent England. He scored nine goals and assisted a further nine for the Irons and worked under former United manager David Moyes.
When he returned to Manchester in the summer, he was promised a significant role in the team under then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was then sacked in November 2021 and replaced by interim manager Ralf Rangnick. The Austrian did not utilise Lingard and granted him just two league starts across the 2021/2022 campaign.
Lingard on his final season in red
Speaking to The Telegraph, Lingard has reflected on his final year at Old Trafford. He said: “I don’t know why I wasn’t playing. I don’t know what the problem was, whether it was politics or whatever. I still haven’t got an answer to this day. I didn’t even ask. I’d rather that someone out of respect for me being there that long told me ‘this is why you’re not playing’, but I never got that.
“It was false promises. I was training hard and I was sharp, I was ready to play them games. When you’re working hard in training and don’t play at the end of it, it’s very frustrating.”
The Englishman added: “I had to grind out that last year because I knew I’d be on a free [transfer]. I’m not really the type of guy to sulk, around the dressing room I’m always that bubbly character with good vibes. I was getting on with my training and doing my work, then here and there I’d come on and try to give my best. The last year was difficult.”