Jesse Lingard has explained why he took the decision to join West Ham in January, insisting that growing frustration at Manchester United played a big part.
United were happy to sanction the England midfielder’s exit after David Moyes asked about a short-term loan.
Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that he could no longer promise the 28-year-old regular game time.
Lingard, however, claims that he wasn’t even given a fair opportunity to prove his worth after lockdown last June.
Asked why he chose to took on a new challenge at West Ham, Lingard told BT Sport: “First and foremost I’m here to play, win and help the team, so hopefully I can do that and we’ll see where we’re at come the end of the season.
“It’s about playing with a smile on my face and enjoying my football and getting back to the old Jesse.
“During the lockdown, I recapped my best moments playing football – the season under Jose [Mourinho] where I scored all of those goals and went to the World Cup and the season when Ole came in and I started well.
“I started getting that fire in my belly and drive again to go and kick on. It would have been easy for me to fall off and take the easy option out.
No giving up
“But a person like me who’s been through a lot and knows the game, I can’t just give it up like and I’ll always go out with a fight.
“I came back one of the strongest and fittest (in the Man Utd squad) after the lockdown and I didn’t get my chance that I was waiting on. But the whole time I was there and not playing I was doing extra training and keeping on top of my fitness for when the time was right.
“So for me, it’s about working hard and staying dedicated and I went back to basics.”
Lingard is set to be in action for the Hammers again on Monday night when they host Sheffield United.