Jesse Lingard explained how he plans to take a break from football due to his mental health issues.
The attacking midfielder has endured a tough 2020 after falling down the pecking order at Manchester United.
Off the pitch, Lingard looked after his brother and sister while his mother – who suffered from depression – received treatment in London.
Lingard spoke on the entertainment show “Presenting” in January, with the video released Thursday, and was asked if his personal struggles and those of his mother made him consider quitting football.
“Don’t quit football, just take time out,” he said.
“I used to go to happy games sitting on the bench and that’s not me. I was saying to my brother the other day, “Remember when I was happy to sit on the bench and all that?”
“I didn’t want to play because my mind wasn’t there, I wasn’t focused at all. I was thinking of something else and obviously I was bottling everything; try to play soccer, you can’t do it.
“Over the years we’ve had help for her, but even for me it’s hard to put things in place. I have the impression that you are not the same person. I felt like I wasn’t Jesse Lingard.
“Even in soccer games, I felt like the game was just passing me, like I just didn’t want to be there – it was crazy. So I opened up to [Manchester] United and told them what I was going through, what my mom was going through and they are always there to help me.
4 – Jesse Lingard is only the third player to score in four consecutive Premier League games for a David Moyes side, after Mikel Arteta in 2010 and Robin van Persie in 2013. Status. https://t.co/paeLo5lJ2f
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 11, 2021
Lingard left Old Trafford for West Ham on loan in January and he thrived for the Champions League hopes of David Moyes.
The 28-year-old has scored nine goals in 10 league games since joining West Ham, tying his best comeback for a top-level season in 2017-18.
Lingard also has three assists under his belt, making him the fastest Hammers player in history to reach double direct goals in goals, a form that saw him recall from England with the ‘Euro 2020 reprogrammed on the horizon.
He explained how the UK’s first national lockdown in March 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic helped change his outlook.
“I could have easily left locked out, be like, ‘No, I don’t want to do this,’” he added.
“I could have easily given up, but the fight inside always brings me back to life and locked out, I was racing at the gym. I wanted to come back to training fitter and faster than anyone and I did.
“I feel like the lockdown has kind of transformed me in a way. I looked at my old games and watched the World Cup games back and I was like, “Yeah, that’s the real Jesse Lingard.”
“My time a few seasons ago or last season, it just wasn’t me at all and you can see it. My brother who lives with me he could see it and he has a video of me literally lying on the couch and I just look for three minutes in the air and he just thinks, ‘What is he going through? He has the weight of the world on his shoulders. And even he didn’t know what I was going through at the time.
“I feel like with my mother and I learned that when you open up you feel like a butterfly – you are in a cocoon and then you can spread your wings, you can fly. It’s an amazing feeling and now I have it all behind me and I can focus on football and my family.