Jesse Lingard's telling World Cup admission drops clear Man Utd transfer hint
Having played just 45 minutes of Premier League football so far this season, the 28-year-old has admitted he will need "regular football" in order to make Gareth Southgate's squad for the 2022 World Cup - should they qualify and make it to Qatar next winter.
He netted for the Three Lions during the last international break and is now back in the squad as Southgate and co face Andorra and Hungary, two World Cup qualifiers on Saturday and Tuesday, respectively.
The Red Devils academy graduate's form in the second half of last season for West Ham saw him return to contention, although he opted to stay at Old Trafford this summer and fight for his place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United side.
"Obviously, the World Cup is a long way away but… you need regular football," Lingard admitted at a press conference on Wednesday.
"I was so close to going to the Euros and I think obviously it plays a huge part and it’s a big factor. If you’re playing over 20 or 25 games, of course you know you’re knocking on the door so I think it does play a big part in that."
The midfielder has scored twice in his limited top-flight minutes and made an impact in cup competitions, which Lingard believes is 'doing him no warm' for now.
"If I keep performing well and doing well you never know what might happen," Lingard stated. "So I keep confident in myself and when I get when I get time on the pitch I’ve got to carry on doing what I’m doing.
"You want to start games. When I’m a sub I’m always ready to play. I’m always ready to be needed when I’m called up.
"It’s one of those things I’m going through at the moment but I think on recent performances hopefully we’ll see a change in the next few weeks."
During pre-season, Solskjaer declared that Lingard would have a "big part" to play in the Red Devils' campaign.
Since then, however, competition for places has become hotter, with United boasting an embarrassment of riches when it comes to attacking talent.
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One of those is England team-mate Jadon Sancho, who Lingard says will need "some time to adapt" after a quiet start to life in Manchester following his £73 million transfer from Borussia Dortmund.
"Jadon’s been around long enough, he knows football inside out and the Premier League can be tough. He’s adapting," the former West Ham loanee explained.
"We’ve seen glimpses. He’s only going to get better. We have full confidence and hope in Jadon to succeed.
"We all know Jadon’s a world-class player, and one of the best young talents in the world at the moment. At a big club like Manchester United it is always going to be pressure."
"But Jadon is a professional, has been around the game a long time and I feel like he’s slowly adapting now and you can see glimpses of that in the previous games that he’s played.
"We can see that in in training week in, week out. There’s no doubt that he will succeed at United, I’ve got full confidence in that."
On Cristiano Ronaldo 's homecoming, he told reporters with a smile: "He’s been brilliant. He’s brought so much to the team. He wants to win in training, he wants to win in games and he wants to win trophies.
"To have him back home is perfect for us at the moment."