European zeroes to Premier League heroes: How Lingard and De Gea turned their Man Utd careers around

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Both of Manchester United's heroes at West Ham, Jesse Lingard and David de Gea, could have been forgiven for thinking their Old Trafford careers were over this summer, but both have bounced back impressively, capped by their interventions at the London Stadium
The Red Devils' heroes at West Ham could have been forgiven for thinking their Old Trafford careers were over this summer, but both have bounced back

In an alternative timeline, Jesse Lingard would have been lining up for West Ham against Manchester United on Sunday.

Lingard's loan spell at the London Stadium became one of the stories of last season, the England international scoring nine goals in 16 games to force himself back into the England reckoning ahead of Euro 2020.

That resurgence, coupled with the arrival of Jadon Sancho at Old Trafford early in the summer, led many to believe that Lingard's time at his boyhood club would come to an end before the transfer window closed.

And yet, there he was, having been cheered onto the pitch by the West Ham faithful, celebrating his superb 89th-minute strike in front of the away supporters after giving United a last-gasp lead in a match that they had struggled to reach top gear in.

It is testament to Lingard's resilience that he has been able to bounce back the way he has over the past nine months following a 2020 in which he played just 64 minutes of Premier League football.

That resilience was further on display against the Irons, with the 28-year-old recovering from his stoppage-time error that gifted Young Boys their winning goal in the Champions League on Tuesday to provide a far more celebratory late intervention five days later.

"I've been working hard to overcome last week, it wasn't easy, but to get some minutes today and to score was unreal," he told Sky Sports post-match.

"I had a good time at West Ham, but I've got to move on with Manchester United and do my best for Manchester United."

So Lingard is moving on, but what does his future hold?

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Charlotte Duncker
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