Jesse Lingard has revealed the 'amazing' support he received from Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes during his battles back from a career low point last season.
28-year-old Lingard fought back from the edge of becoming United's forgotten man to one of the players of the season in 2020/21, thanks to a flying loan spell at West Ham.
In a revealing piece for The Players' Tribune, Lingard detailed how a combination of physical and mental struggles saw him sink 'as low as I'd ever been' after the high of the 2018 World Cup.
"I couldn’t get back to where I had been," the midfielder wrote. "I was struggling mentally as well as physically. There was the off-field stuff with my mum and her battle with depression. I’ve talked about it before, and that isn’t what this story is about — but that affected me, too. It’s my mum, you know?
"Not playing only made things worse. But when I finally did play, even when I was fit again … I wasn’t me. My family kept coming to games, but they couldn’t even watch me. They were like, ‘This ain’t you. This ain’t your aura.' Games were passing me by like I wasn't there. Like a ghost."
He wrote: "I even remember Bruno Fernandes coming to me before a game and saying, 'Today I want to see the Jesse Lingard that I know.'
"All I could think was, 'Mate, I can’t, ’cause this is not me!'"
Lingard went on to regain his form and confidence at West Ham where he scored nine times in just 16 Premier League games, even winning both the Goal and Player of the Month awards in April.
Throughout the impressive comeback in London, Fernandes continued to be a champion for his loaned-out teammate - a gesture which meant a lot to Lingard.
Lingard wrote: "After that [the Premier League awards] Bruno Fernandes referred to me as the 'best player in the Premier League' in an interview with United … me!! Can you believe that?!? That’s coming from Bruno!
"I’ve got a lot of love for Bruno. He was dropping me messages of support throughout my loan. To get that recognition from someone at his level was just amazing."