Jesse Lingard made a risky move as he left Manchester United in the summer transfer window on a free, and joined newly-promoted Nottingham Forrest. The midfielder has opened up about the mental health struggles he endured during his time at Manchester United.
Lingard’s Time at United:
The England international has revealed he suffered with depression while at boyhood club United. The 29-year-old said he used coping mechanisms such as alcohol to try and resolve the issue.
Speaking to The Guardian, Lingard said: “I was having conversations with people and I was just like: ‘Yeah. OK. Yeah.’ Nothing would register. It would go in one ear and out the other. I was numb and I wanted to be in that numb state where I didn’t have to feel anything.”
He added: “Literally, I just wanted to sit at home and drink a little bit – try and take the pain away. I don’t do that, normally. But sitting at home and drinking before bed … that’s when I knew I was in a bad situation. It wasn’t drinking too excess. It was just little bits through the week.”
Lingard has reflected that receiving abuse from United fans following his side’s 3-0 FA Cup win over Derby County in March 2020 was his “rock bottom”. This incident followed a period where he was forced to care for his siblings after his mother was admitted to a mental health facility.
However, after confiding in manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United’s team doctor, he managed to recover during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown and rediscovered his form while on loan at West Ham. This helped him secure a 1-year contract with Nottingham Forrest and is enjoying Premier League football.