Jesse Lingard to Train with Al Ettifaq: A New Opportunity for the Midfielder
Jesse Lingard, the talented midfielder, is set to train with Al Ettifaq, a Saudi Pro League club, for one month. This news has been confirmed by the club itself. Lingard, who is currently a free agent after leaving Nottingham Forest at the end of the 2022-23 season, will have the opportunity to showcase his skills and potentially secure a new contract.
Lingard had been training with his former club, West Ham, during the summer and even played in a friendly match against Ipswich in September. During his loan spell with West Ham in the second half of the 2020-21 season, Lingard impressed with nine goals and six assists in just 16 appearances. However, he decided to sign a one-year deal with Nottingham Forest last summer instead of returning to West Ham.
Steven Gerrard, the former Liverpool legend, was appointed as the manager of Al Ettifaq in July. Under his leadership, the club has made some notable signings, including England international Jordan Henderson from Liverpool and Demarai Gray from Everton. Al Ettifaq currently sits fourth in the Saudi Pro League table, having won five out of their first seven matches.
It’s worth noting that Al Ettifaq is not one of the four Saudi teams owned by the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). The PIF recently acquired a 75% stake in Al Ahli, Al Ittihad, Al Hilal, and Al Nassr, leading to an influx of overseas talent in those clubs.
Lingard’s time at Nottingham Forest was less successful than anticipated. He made only 17 appearances in the Premier League, with three of them coming after the turn of the year. Lingard failed to score or provide an assist for Steve Cooper’s side. However, Lingard’s physical condition impressed West Ham manager David Moyes during his three-week training stint with the club in the pre-season.
Moyes spoke highly of Lingard’s improved fitness, stating, “He’s in really good condition — much better condition than he was when he first came in. I want to give him every opportunity to get himself back in condition and see how he does. So there’s no real update on it, just to say that he’s back and getting much closer to the levels of fitness where you’d hope he would be.”
Al Ettifaq’s next match is scheduled for Sunday against Jeddah. Lingard will have the chance to train with the team and impress Gerrard during his month-long stint. This opportunity could potentially lead to a new contract for the 30-year-old midfielder.
In conclusion, Jesse Lingard’s decision to train with Al Ettifaq presents a new opportunity for the talented midfielder. After leaving Nottingham Forest, Lingard will have the chance to showcase his skills and potentially secure a new contract with the Saudi Pro League club. Under the guidance of manager Steven Gerrard, Al Ettifaq has made significant signings and currently sits fourth in the league table. Lingard’s time at West Ham and his improved fitness have impressed many, and this training stint could be a stepping stone towards a successful future for the midfielder.