Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard has admitted he is aware that he needs to be playing ‘regular football’ to have a chance of going to the 2022 World Cup with England next year.
Lingard was an important member of the 2018 squad but his international career ground to a halt in 2019 after badly falling out of favour at United. He earned a recall earlier this year after a stunning loan spell at West Ham and remains in the squad now, but his lack of starts since returning to his parent club over the summer has been a concern.
“Obviously, the World Cup is a long way away but…you need regular football,” Lingard is quoted as saying by Sky Sports while on duty with the Three Lions this week.
“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."
Lingard scored nine Premier League goals in 16 appearances for West Ham in the second half of last season but competition for places back in Manchester has meant his only start of this season came in the Carabao Cup. He has come off the bench five times and didn’t feature at all in either of United’s last two Premier League games against Aston Villa and Everton.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer even admitted recently that Lingard is 'unhappy' with his current role.
That being said, Lingard has still made an impact. Aside from a costly mistake against Young Boys, he has scored twice off the bench in the Premier League – including a late winner against West Ham – and got a stoppage time assist in the Champions League against Villarreal.
“I'm not doing any harm at the moment - if I keep performing well and doing well you never know what might happen 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,” the 28-year-old said.
“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.”