Pearce believes Lingard will come good at Forest after tough start

Stuart Pearce and Laura Bassett
Stuart Pearce and Laura Bassett

Jesse Lingard can rediscover his free-flowing West Ham form and help salvage Nottingham Forest's season, reckons former coach and club legend Stuart Pearce.

Attacking midfielder Lingard, 29, has not grabbed a goal or assist since joining as a free transfer from Manchester United on a one-year contract this summer.

Pearce was a first-team coach at West Ham for two years between 2020 and 2022, working alongside Lingard during his red-hot loan spell in East London between January and June 2021.

And the former Forest player and manager, who made 401 appearances for the club across 12 years, has backed the England international to return to his finest form soon.

Pearce, who racked up 78 international caps and helped fire the Three Lions to the World Cup semi-finals at Italia 90, said: "I don't think [Jesse's signing] was a misfire - he's a very good player and we saw that first-hand at West Ham.

"He is a really good player and he will be a good addition to Forest in the long run, I have no doubt about that.

"He will probably be the first to admit that his form may not have been as good as he would like in recent months.

"But listen, he is a quality player."

Forest are currently bottom of the Premier League table, level on points with Wolves in 19th and three points away from safety.

But they won six out of ten points in October as their team started to gel after a record-breaking summer in the transfer market.

Forest spent £145m on 20 players, with Adnan Kanurić and Serge Aurier joining after the window closed on free transfers.

And Pearce believes that it was always going be difficult for so many players to settle at the club in such a short space of time.

Pearce, speaking as an ambassador of ‘Pitching In’ at the launch of the grassroots investment programme’s flagship sponsorship of Camden Town Women, added: "There is no doubt in my mind that Forest look like they are getting stronger by the game.

"It has not been easy, you know, you bring 22 players into a football club and it is never going to be easy.

"To step up a league with that as well is hard for the manager and the players.

"I was there at Wembley when they did get promoted and the club have got such a rich history.

"There are a lot of young fans who have never seen them in the Premier League, it is brilliant, and fingers crossed they will stay in."

Forest returned to the top-flight this season after a 23-year absence.

Steve Cooper was rewarded with a new contract to keep him at the City Ground until 2025 after leading the club back to the promised land.

Despite a difficult start to the Premier League season, Pearce believes it was the right decision to keep Cooper at the club.

He added: "It was brilliant to see Steve get a new contract, the club have backed him, which I think is right and proper.

"It took them 23 years to get promoted again, that is a long time."

Entain, the global betting and gaming operator behind Ladbrokes and Coral, is proud to support Camden Town FC as part of its ‘Pitching In’ Grassroots Investment Fund. Through Pitching In, Entain supports community sport, including the ‘Pitching In’ Trident Leagues.