Jesse Lingard has revealed how a heart-to-heart with Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer helped give him a second chance to kick-start his season.
The 26-year-old midfielder found himself taking on more family responsibilities for his younger brother and sister after his mother fell ill.
Lingard admits the extra burden had impacted on his playing performances during the first part of the current campaign.
However, after opening up to Solskjaer and making a return to form, the midfielder is looking forward to tackling the challenges ahead.
“I am normally quite bubbly and want to put smiles on people’s faces, but people have seen the change in my ways,” Lingard told the Daily Mail.
“I have been down and glum; just worrying. I felt like everybody just passed all the stuff to me and it weighed on my shoulders. It was like, ‘Here you go Jesse, you deal with this on your own’.
Lingard added: “I wasn’t performing and he was on me all the time. He (Solskjaer) wanted more from me.
“I felt it was best to get everything off my chest and tell him why my head wasn’t right, so I knocked on his door.”
The England international feels he can now focus on playing again.
“When I came on the manager said to me, ‘just go on and play with a smile and enjoy it’. To hear that gives you confidence. He knows what kind of character I am. I need to be smiling,” Lingard said.
“He has just told me that everything will be OK. Maybe I just needed someone to say that.
“He said he just wanted the old Jesse back and maybe I can give him that now.”
Lingard added: “As a man I have to take this responsibility on and be there for everyone. I’ve had to mature and wise up.
“Sometimes when your worries are so deep you can’t function properly. Now it’s about getting back to my best and I feel I can do that.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Lingard also reflected on his England ambitions and targeting a return to being a regular in Gareth Southgate’s squad ahead of the Euro 2020 finals.
The midfielder also talked about his social media activity and friendship with Paul Pogba.
Lingard drew criticism for a crude video he made while on holiday with United team-mate Marcus Rashford which was briefly uploaded to his personal Snapchat account.
“It genuinely was a mistake to post it. I have a lot of young followers and I would never put that out there deliberately,” he said.
“It was an accident. I was meaning to send it privately to one of my friends. I was on a plane waiting to take off. Someone from the club texted me and said, ‘take the video down’.
‘When I realised what I had done, my heart just sank into my stomach. I was like, ‘I am done at United now. This is the final straw’.”
Lingard gave a personal apology when returning early to the club, having been told he was on his “last chance” by the manager.
“He said I had to get my head down and that is what I have done. I am not stupid,” Lingard added.
“There is no way I was going to let what I have at this club be taken away.
“On the whole I have cut down on my social media stuff now. You do what you have to do.”
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