Jesse Lingard considered break from football during mental health struggle

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Alex Young
·2-min read
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 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Jesse Lingard has opened up about his and his family's battle with mental health, revealing he considered a break from football.

The Manchester United midfielder is currently enjoying the most productive spell of his career on loan at West Ham, scoring nine times to help maintain the Hammers' unlikely top-four push.

It came after a tough period at United which saw him drop down the pecking order and struggle with his mother's depression.

Speaking to Presenting..., Lingard explained he did not want to "quit football, just have a time out really."

He added: "I was going into games happy sitting on the bench and that’s not me. I was telling my brother the other day: 'Remember when I was happy sitting on the bench and all this?'

"I didn’t want to play because my mind wasn’t there, I wasn’t focused at all. I was thinking about other things and obviously bottling it all up; trying to play football, you can’t do it."

“It feels like you’re not the same person, I feel like I wasn’t Jesse Lingard,” he continued. “Even in football matches, I felt like the game was just passing me by, like I just didn’t want to be there - it was crazy.

“I could see myself playing but watching the game back I just think that’s not me, that’s not how I play. You go from the World Cup to some performances I’ve seen myself playing and something needed to change.

“I opened up to United and told them what I was going through, what my mum was going through and they’re always there to help. I’ve had doctors that have helped which has been brilliant and during the lockdown I got my head together”.

Lingard has previously spoken about how he had to look after his younger brother and sister while his mum received treatment.

"When you're young, seeing your mum going through something like that, you don't understand it logically, you don't know what she's going through," he said. "She'd say 'I'm depressed, I'm depressed' but me, as a kid, you don't know what that means.

"You're just going out, playing out, playing football, doing your thing, but mum was in bed most of the time, curtains closed, she's going through it. This is when I was young, like 12."

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