Jesse Lingard opens up on battling mental health during lockdown

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Jack Rathborn
·2-min read
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 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Jesse Lingard has detailed how he struggled during lockdown with his mental health while also coming to terms with his mother’s depression.

Lingard has admitted to drifting at times while at Manchester United with his mum Kirsty’s condition affecting his impact on the pitch.

The 28-year-old has discovered some of the best form of his career on loan at West Ham since joining up with David Moyes’ side in January, chipping in with nine goals in 10 matches to earn an England recall.

But despite his excellent form as the Hammers battle for a place in the Champions League, Lingard remembers the difficulty in juggling off-the-field problems with his career.

“I could have easily quit in lockdown. I could have been like ‘nah, I don’t want to do it, I quit, I give up’. But the fight in me always brings me back to life,” said Lingard in an interview for the first series of Presenting on YouTube.

“Not quit football, just have a time-out, really. I was going into games happy sitting on the bench, and that’s not me.

“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’re tense, you’re stressed and you can’t do it.

“There were some days where I used to have a game at 8pm and we’d go to the hotel in the afternoon, I’d sleep from two until four, shut my curtains in the dark, and then wake up in the dark and you don’t get any sunlight.

“So I was advised by the doctors, as soon as you get up in the morning, jump out of bed, open the curtains and even the little things can really change your attitude.”

Lingard is now pleased that he opened up on his problems and now wants to “change people’s lives and inspire others to start opening up” too.

“I feel like in life you go through difficulties, you go through stages of lows and highs, but I feel like you’ve gotta get through the lows, grind it out and you see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Lingard added.

“That’s why I did open up, I want to change people’s lives and inspire others to start opening up, cause I’ve been through it and I know what it’s like to bottle things up, so if I can pass on the information to anyone who’s going through mental health issues, it’ll make me smile.”

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