Jesse Lingard: England man says he could have taken a 'timeout' from football during lockdown

West Ham loanee has been dealing with mental health issues and his mother's depression; Lingard: "I was going into games happy sitting on the bench, and that's not me. My mind wasn't there, I wasn't focused at all"

Jesse Lingard warms up at Villa Park 3:00
Jesse Lingard says he came close to taking a 'timeout' from football during lockdown as he battled mental health issues and his mother's depression

In-form England man Jesse Lingard says he came close to taking a 'timeout' from football during lockdown, as he battled mental health issues and his mother's depression.

Lingard spent almost two years in the wilderness at Manchester United as he struggled to cope with mum Kirsty's condition.

However, the 28-year-old has been a player reborn after joining West Ham on loan in January, scoring nine goals in 10 matches and winning back his England place.

Lingard, renowned for usually being a bubbly character on and off the pitch, opened up about the tough times he suffered when he gave an interview to kick off the first series of YouTube-based talk show Presenting.

"I could have easily quit in lockdown," said Lingard.

"I could have been like, 'nah, I don't want to do it, I quit, I give up'.

Jesse Lingard celebrates scoring for West Ham against Wolves
Image: Lingard has scored nine times since signing for West Ham on loan

"But the fight in me always brings me back to life.

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"Not quit football [completely], just have a timeout, really. I was going into games happy sitting on the bench, and that's not me.

"My mind wasn't there, I wasn't focused at all.

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Take a look at some of Lingard's Premier League goals for West Ham following his loan move from Manchester United

"I was thinking about other things, and obviously bottling it all up trying to play football, you're tense, you're stressed and you can't do it.

"There were some days where I used to have a game at 8pm and we'd go to the hotel in the afternoon, I'd sleep from two until four, shut my curtains in the dark, and then wake up in the dark, and you don't get any sunlight.

"So I was advised by the doctors, as soon as you get up in the morning, jump out of bed, open the curtains and even the little things can really change your attitude.

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"I opened up to United and told them what I was going through, what my mum was going through, and they're always there to help.

"I've had other doctors that have helped which has been brilliant and, during the lockdown, I got my head together.

"I feel lockdown has transitioned me in a way. I watch my old games back, the World Cup games and the old games I used to play, and I think, 'yeah, that's the real Jesse Lingard'."

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