Jesse Lingard reveals ‘false promises’ from Ole Gunner Solskjaer that led to Manchester United departure as Nottingham Forest ace admits he ‘still doesn’t know why’ he was frozen out at Old Trafford

    Jesse Lingard has revealed the ‘false promises’ at Manchester United that led to him leaving his boyhood club in the summer.

    The midfielder will enter Old Trafford on Tuesday for the first time since joining Nottingham Forest in a free transfer, and has spoken openly about his United exit ahead of his return.

    Lingard left Man United as a free agent after ‘false promises’ made by the club

    Getty

    Lingard left Man United as a free agent after ‘false promises’ made by the club

    Lingard spent 20 years as a Red Devils player, but left the Premier League giants under a cloud, admitting he ‘ground out’ his last few months at the club to leave as a free agent.

    There was so much promise for Lingard following his return to Old Trafford from his ultra-successful loan at West Ham in 2021.

    With his career revitalised at the London club, Lingard had his pick of offers when his loan stay with the Hammers came to an end – including staying at the London Stadium.

    He instead decided to return to United and fight for his return to the first-team, following a conversation with then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer where he was given assurances of regular minutes.

    However, he was only used sparingly by the Norwegian, to the bafflement of fans and pundits who watched him sparkle in a West Ham shirt.

    And it appears the player was equally confused over his lack of action, and to this day still doesn’t understand why he was shafted by the United legend.

    Lingard quickly became a hero at West Ham during his loan spell in the capital

    Getty – Pool

    Lingard quickly became a hero at West Ham during his loan spell in the capital

    Lingard showed flashes of his talent on his return to Man United, but ultimately didn’t get the game time he was promised

    AFP

    Lingard showed flashes of his talent on his return to Man United, but ultimately didn’t get the game time he was promised

    “I don’t know why I wasn’t playing,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

    “I don’t know what the problem was, whether it was politics or whatever. I still haven’t got an answer to this day. 

    “I didn’t even ask. I’d rather that someone out of respect for me being there that long told me, ‘This is why you’re not playing’, but I never got that.

    “It was false promises. I was training hard and I was sharp, I was ready to play them games. When you’re working hard in training and don’t play at the end of it, it’s very frustrating.”

    However, Solskjaer’s sacking in November 2021 and the appointment of Ralf Rangnick didn’t change things for Lingard, who went on to make just two Premier League starts in his last season in a United shirt, with the player also denied a farewell to supporters in the last home game of the season.

    “I had to grind out that last year because I knew I’d be on a free [transfer],” he said.

    “I’m not really the type of guy to sulk, around the dressing room I’m always that bubbly character with good vibes.  I was getting on with my training and doing my work, then here and there I’d come on and try to give my best. The last year was difficult.”

    Nobody saw Lingard ending up at Forest in the summer

    Instagram / @jesselingard

    Nobody saw Lingard ending up at Forest in the summer

    Now at Nottingham Forest, Lingard says he is now in his ‘happy place’, with the midfielder looking like his old self before the World Cup break following a settling-in period at his new club.

    “I’m gliding across the pitch now. I’m happy and smiling,” Lingard added.

    “I feel free and there are no worries or cares. My mind is clear and straight. I know my family is good and that helps us all.

    “I can’t wait for the season to start again now. I’m very close to being the player I want to be.”

    “The lads and manager have been brilliant. Over the 15 games we’ve found a formula and a way to play. Of course, buying a lot of players can be difficult and people need to adapt quickly to the Premier League. It’s so ruthless.

    It’s taken time to settle, but Lingard now looks at home at Forest

    Rex

    It’s taken time to settle, but Lingard now looks at home at Forest

    “It takes time to build those relationships on the field. This is another chapter in my life, and a different challenge for me which I wanted.”

    It will be a strange feeling for Lingard when he enters the away dressing room at Old Trafford and steps onto the pitch against his boyhood club.

    He admits it will be ‘a chance to say goodbye’ to United fans, but insists he will be focused on his job – getting points for Nottingham Forest.

    “It will be an enjoyable one, but we want to win the game,” he said. 

    “You can’t get caught up too much emotionally. It’s a chance to say my goodbyes because I never really got that.”

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