Jesse Lingard admitted the return had been a “long journey” after being called back to England after his fine form for West Ham.
Lingard’s most recent international appearance came in June 2019, when he was part of Gareth Southgate’s squad that made it to the first Nations League final, ultimately finishing third in the tournament.
The 28-year-old was also a regular as England reached the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, but lack of playing time at Manchester United saw him slide down the pecking order with the Three Lions .
However, a loan spell away from Old Trafford helped product United Academy kick off its career. He now has the chance to get back into Southgate’s plans ahead of the delayed Euro 2020, securing a place in the squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.
“Buzzin [sic] be called back to the England squad after two years, ”Lingard tweeted, with a photo of him celebrating while playing for the national team.
“It was a long journey, very mentally stimulating but full of hard work and conviction. Thanks to everyone who believed in me, this is just the start.
Buzzin to be called back in the @England squad after 2 years It was a long journey very difficult mentally but full of hard work and conviction Thanks to everyone who believed in me this is just the start #in working mode # JL11NGZ @WestHam pic.twitter.com/cFeZtiiW0X
– Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) March 18, 2021
Lingard had not played for United in the Premier League this season before leaving the mid-season transfer window, his only outings in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s campaign to come in domestic cup competitions.
Still, reuniting with former Red Devils boss David Moyes at West Ham has allowed the attacking midfielder to thrive again.
In his six league starts since joining, Lingard has scored four goals – twice as many as any of his new teammates – and also provided an assist, while only Aaron Cresswell (11) created more chances than its total of seven.
Southgate was impressed enough to include Lingard – whose long-term club-level future remains uncertain – in their final squad.
“We had no idea how it would work, but we were able to give Jesse a great reference,” the England boss told media when the squad was officially announced.
“We were just delighted that he came back to play football. It’s one of those moves that has worked well for everyone.
“I can only repeat that ideally you would have seen this over a longer period of time. He has a great opportunity now.
Lingard is joined in the party by a familiar face in Luke Shaw, drafted by Southgate after outstanding left-back form for United.