Jesse Lingard admitted he “lost who I was as a player” as he addressed his difficult 2019-20 campaign with Manchester United.
The England international made just nine Premier League starts – by far his fewest since his breakthrough 2015-16 season with United – and the most recent of those came in a New Year’s Day loss to Arsenal.
Lingard, who was taken off in each of those nine games, was restricted to a handful of substitute’s appearances as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side rediscovered their form either side of the coronavirus-enforced break to secure a top-four finish and qualify for next season’s Champions League.
The campaign at least ended on a high for Lingard as he scored his first top-flight goal since December 2018 in the 2-0 win over Leicester City on Sunday, but the 27-year-old confessed to experiencing a difficult term with his boyhood club.
Lingard has previously spoken of being affected by off-field issues involving his family, but claimed his love for United has never diminished.
In an Instagram post, the 27-year-old wrote: “This season has been difficult for so many reasons.
“I lost who I was as a player and person, but I never wanted to give up, I knew who I really was on and off the pitch and knew that having been there before I could get there again.
“This meant working harder than I’d ever done before and trusting in those around me that they knew how to best help me achieve that.
“I know the fans have been frustrated but in all this time my love for this club and everyone connected to it has never left me.
“This team, this club is my family and I will continue to keep working harder than ever to help this team achieve its goals.”
Lingard has just one year left remaining on his United deal and there have been suggestions he could be offloaded in this transfer window.
In January the midfielder appointed Paul Pogba’s long-term agent Mino Raiola – who has had numerous issues with United in the past – to represent him.
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