Jesse Lingard joined West Ham United from Manchester United in the January transfer window a forlorn figure, with just three appearances to his name in the 2020-21 season. Since his London switch though, Lingard’s fine form has earned him an England recall, and now he’s in contention to make Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad for Euro 2020.
Eight goals and three assists in just nine games makes Lingard one of the Premier League’s most in-form players. Only four players in Europe's top five league have registered more goal involvements than Lingard's 11: Lionel Messi, Romelu Lukaku, Atalanta’s Luis Muriel and Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno.
His form equals his best goal-scoring season, where he scored eight goals in 33 games in 2017-18. Lingard headed to the World Cup that summer with England, starting five of the seven games and scoring against Panama. While this suggests Lingard's a shoo-in to make the squad, in reality, England are a lot stronger in the forward positions, meaning competition for places is at an all-time high.
Lingard also endured a difficult 18-month period out of the England set up until his return in last month’s World Cup qualifiers. Appearing in all three games England played, he started against San Marino before coming off the bench against both Albania and Poland.
Southgate used the on-loan West Ham man in forward wide positions in the internationals, allowing him to drift inside and make runs in behind. With the England manager preferring to use three players in the forward line despite switching between a four and a five at the back, it seems Southgate will largely use Lingard in the front three if he’s selected.
And with Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling almost certainly nailed on starters, there’s one more spot up for grabs in the starting XI - which Phil Foden, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish, Bukayo Saka and Mason Greenwood are all vying for themselves.
Both Sancho and Grealish are suffering with injuries at the moment, strengthening Lingard’s case to make the squad after most recently impressing against Leicester City in a 3-2 victory at the London Stadium, with Gareth Southgate in attendance. Crucially though, Southgate trusts Lingard, exemplified after bringing him on in tight games against both Albania and Poland.
Who else?! ⚒️Jesse Lingard is on fire! 🔥 He puts West Ham ahead with a clever finish.📺 Watch on Sky Sports PL📱 Follow #WHULEI here: https://t.co/sIxZE7PBWa📲 Download the @SkySports app! pic.twitter.com/52NBhsJGgGApril 11, 2021
Offering something different to England’s wide players with his energy and ability to drift into dangerous positions around the pitch, Lingard will likely make appearances at the upcoming Euros as an impact sub. Foden seems ahead of him in the pecking order for the right wing position, while Marcus Rashford is yet to come back into the fold after missing March’s games through injury.
Although not a foregone conclusion that Lingard will make the Euro 2020 23-man squad, if he continues his incredible form he’ll leave Southgate with no option but to include him.
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