Jesse Lingard has been included in England’s squad for next month’s triple-header of World Cup qualifiers despite having played five minutes of competitive football since the end of his West Ham United loan in May.
The 28-year-old appears determined to stay and fight for his place at Manchester United but West Ham remain interested in signing him permanently ahead of the transfer window closing on Tuesday night.
Jadon Sancho’s recent arrival at Old Trafford, on top of Mason Greenwood’s impressive opening to the campaign, suggest Lingard’s playing time will be rather limited should he choose to stay. But England manager Gareth Southgate also reiterated a familiar point that, to be eligible for his squad, players need to be in regular action for their clubs.
“What’s ideal is that players play at the highest possible level as regularly as they can and then there are so many nuances to that,” he said. “I know sometimes we’re criticised for not being consistent but sometimes that depends on position, who is available, depends on individual circumstance. With players we know and know are capable of playing at the level that’s important.
“Of course you’ve got a better chance if you are playing regularly but nobody can really predict how those seasons are going to play out. Clearly if you are Manchester united you’ve got an asset in Jesse they are going to want involved in their squad at the minute in time. What’s great from our point of view is he had a great second half of the season last season at West Ham, which revitalised him, and was why he was so close to being in the final squad in the summer.”
In contrast to Lingard, Dele Alli has made a good start to the campaign for Tottenham Hotspur but remains out of the international picture for now, while Southgate said Ben Chilwell was omitted from this squad because of his lack of action since winning the Champions League final with Chelsea in late May.
Southgate has recalled Lingard, who was cut from the extended squad just before the Euros, because of his versatility and familiarity with England’s style of play. The team will have just three days together before facing Hungary in Budapest next Thursday. They also host Andorra at Wembley before visiting Poland in Warsaw.
“He has had matches in pre-season, he’s obviously missed the start of the season with Covid, but he’s a player who for these games in particular knows how we play,” Southgate added.
“He can fit into the team and can play 7, 11, 8, 10. The way he was with us in the summer, we know the level he’s capable of. He’s got a good record with us internationally and can fit straight in. We go to Budapest with two or three days training so the way the group can adapt quickly is really important for us.”
Source by Football London