Jesse Lingard opens up on how battling adversity off the pitch has helped find form with West Ham

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Jack Rosser
·4-min read
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 (Pool via REUTERS)
(Pool via REUTERS)

Jesse Lingard has revealed how overcoming the adversity of his mother's depression and speaking out about the ordeal have helped him rediscover his form at West Ham.

The Manchester United midfielder - who has six goals and four assists in eight games since joining the Hammers in January - spoke out last year on how he had been struggling with family issues away from the pitch.

Lingard, who is back in the England squad after his form in east London, had taken care of his younger siblings while his mum was treated in London last year.

The 28-year-old spoke of the relief which came with opening up about his struggles and has encouraged others who are battling internal issues to do the same.

Getty Images
Getty Images

“It was really tough. My mum’s had depression for many years now and we never really got her the right help,” Lingard told beIN Sports.

“To get the help that she needed was all we wanted. All she wanted was to see her son happy and playing football. I think that’s helped as well – for her seeing me do well she’s over the moon and it puts her in good spirits as well.

“At the time it can be difficult. As old as I am, no one prepares you for stuff like that… I wasn’t really prepared at the time but I had my family members around me. I looked after my little brother and sister, which was fun, it was more responsibility for me to be more grown up. I enjoyed it and I knew my mum was getting the best help she could get.

“It’s all about opening up and speaking to people. People nowadays don’t speak up, especially teens, they won’t speak up. There’s always an underlying problem with people but they never say anything and I think that’s the worst thing you can do – bottle things up. It only makes things worse.

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“When I spoke out it was such a relief. It was like the world was off your shoulders and you could breathe again properly. You get the help when you do speak. Bottling up is not the answer. Everyone’s got to come out and say something no matter what you’re going through.”

Lingard struggled on the pitch when featuring for Manchester United in recent years, adding that games were "passing me by", but the process he has been through with his family has helped him mature as a player too.

“It makes me grow as a person," said Lingard. "It makes you more mature and to take more responsibility for yourself and others and that’s what I’ve been doing.”

“The person off the pitch carries onto the pitch and you become that person on the pitch. When I was down and low it felt like I wasn’t even playing games or I wasn’t even there and the game was passing me by, it was an awful feeling. Awful for your family to see. Awful for your family to come and watch games and know ‘that’s not Jesse Lingard,’ it’s upsetting for them as well as me.”

Lingard has been playing with a smile on his face once again having joined the Hammers and is leading their charge for Europe.

The England international has moved to an apartment in view of the London Stadium and even feels that the change of scenery has aided his remarkable form.

“I think environment is a big thing," said Lingard, who has bonded with West Ham teammates Declan Rice and Mark Noble since moving to the capital. "My house in Manchester is low down, you go down into the kitchen, it’s dark and in like a bunker.

“You being in that environment week in, week out, you know nothing else.

“Since I’ve moved to London I’m in an apartment where I’m high, there’s lots of light, I can see all the buildings in London, it makes you more bright and fresh."

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