Midfielder Jesse Lingard has said he is “not doing any harm at the moment” to his career in England by staying at Manchester United.
The 28-year-old declined interest from several clubs last summer, including West Ham United, where he spent the second half of last season on loan, to stay and fight for his place at Old Trafford despite the striker Cristiano Ronaldo and winger Jadon Sancho.
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Still, Lingard has only started once for United this season – in last month’s defeat of the Carabao Cup in the third round to West Ham – and rejected an extension of the contract, according to ESPN sources, amid concerns over lack of playing time as he enters final year of his existing agreement.
England boss Gareth Southgate left Lingard from his Euro 2020 squad, but the midfielder scored twice against Andorra last month after earning a recall after a series of bright cameos as a power swap for United, including scoring a late winner against West Ham at his Premier League returns to London Stadium.
After retaining his place in Southgate’s squad to face Andorra again and Hungary at Wembley, Lingard hinted that he does not feel a step will be needed to ensure he does not miss next year’s World Cup final in Qatar. .
“Of course the World Cup is far away, but of course from last year you need regular football,” he said. “I was so close to going to the euro then, and of course I think it plays a huge role and that’s a big factor. You know that if you play over 20, 25 matches, you know of course that you knocks on the door, so I think it plays a big part in that. “
Asked if he was happy he would get this opportunity at United, Lingard replied: “I think I’m not doing any harm at the moment.
“If I keep performing well and doing well, you never know what might happen, so I keep believing in myself, and when I get time on the field, I have to keep doing it, I do.”
Sancho’s £ 73m signing from Borussia Dortmund offers a direct challenge to Lingard’s hopes of re-establishing himself, but he supported the newly arrived 21-year-old to thrive after a slow start to life at the club.
“We all know Jadon is a world-class player and one of the best young talents in the world at the moment,” Lingard added.
“In a big club like Manchester United it’s always going to be pressure. But Jadon is a professional, has been around the game for a long time and I feel he’s slowly adapting now and you can see glimpses of that in the previous matches he has played.
“We can see it in training week after week. There is no doubt that he will succeed at United, I have full confidence in that.”