West Ham manager David Moyes has played down any injury worries over Jesse Lingard, who has been urged repay the Hammers’ ‘gamble’ and sign permanently from Manchester United.
Lingard hobbled off the pitch towards the end of West Ham’s 3-2 defeat at Newcastle United, prompting fears from supporters over their dreams of qualifying for the Champions League.
Lingard helped inspire a Hammers comeback with a goal from the penalty spot, as Moyes’ men battled back from 2-0 down at half-time to level the game 2-2 at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon.
But the on-loan star was forced off with an apparent injury before the end, while another loanee struck for Newcastle as Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock got a crucial winner to settle the incredible encounter.
Fans awaited nervously for news on Lingard’s fitness after the game, with the Hammers still firmly in the hunt for a top-four finish despite the surprise defeat. But Moyes had positive news for the London Stadium faithful.
Moyes told reporters: “I think it was just cramp, I don’t think it was anything serious. I think the one thing about Jesse, Jesse is a really fit boy.
“He wants to play. I think I push all my players hard, Jesse is no different. He won’t get any favoured treatment – certainly not for a Scotsman going into the Euros! We’re really pleased with him.”
Lingard has played a huge role in West Ham’s surprise push for Champions League football. The 28-year-old has enjoyed a rich vein of form since joining the Hammers on loan from Manchester United in January, with nine goals and four assists in just ten games.
It’s still unclear what the future holds for the midfielder, who has fought his way back into the England fold.
While United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has insisted the club expect him back at Old Trafford in the summer, West Ham fans are desperate to keep their new hero, although it appears they could face competition with Europe’s elite clubs reportedly interested.
Speaking during a debate about loan signings, and looking back on the loan spells he had during his playing career, former England, Man City and Leeds defender Danny Mills had his say on Lingard’s future.
And he said the fact he was allowed to join West Ham in the first place shows he is not wanted by United.
“You know full well the club that you’re leaving, your parent club, doesn’t want you, and the club that is loaning you, they want you – that’s the simple fact,” he said. “And that’s the case with Jesse Lingard.
“Whatever Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says, how great he was in training and how fantastic his attitude was, he didn’t want him enough to keep him and he was happy to let him come out on loan.”
Former Premier League Darren Ambrose also urged Lingard to commit his future to West Ham, saying he owes it to the London club to repay their ‘gamble’.
Asked what he’d advise the England international to do this summer, the talkSPORT pundit said: “Oh, sign for West Ham.
“I honestly would. The form he’s hit since joining West Ham, he’s clearly got a manager who loves him.
“The fans are not even back in the stadium, image when they’re back in the stadium and the reaction they’d have towards a player like Jesse Lingard.
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“They took a gamble on you, of course he’s not going to say that, he’s worked on himself, he’s made that clear and he knows what kind of player he is.
“But they took a gamble, of course they did, and he’s gone there and really shown how quality he is. He’s still a top, top player.
“He’s got back into the England squad and it has all come from being at West Ham and being given that opportunity to play, hitting the form he has with David Moyes who really likes him.
“You’ve got to stay with them.”