Jesse Lingard has admitted that he feels less pressure playing for his country England than club Manchester United ahead of the World Cup this summer.
Lingard is part of Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad travelling to Russia for the tournament which kicks off next month and is challenging for a starting spot after a great season at Man United.
The 25-year-old scored 13 and assisted seven throughout the 2017-18 season, his best so far as a professional, after transitioning into an attacking midfielder as well as a winger.
Speaking ahead of England’s warm-up international friendlies against Nigeria and Costa Rica, Lingard revealed he is actually more comfortable lining up for his country than club:
“I actually feel more comfortable when I play for England than United. Every game, you’ve got to play with no fear.
“It’s one of the pinnacles of your career as a player and it will be my first World Cup so I’ve got to enjoy every minute, whether I start or if I’ve got to make an impact from the bench and I do think we will do well because of the team spirit we’ve got.”
Lingard is set to be competing with Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli for a starting spot ‘in the hole’ as part of the new 3-4-1-2 system Southgate is expected to use.
United fans will hope to see him impress the world over the summer and then carry his form into the 2018-19 campaign where he’ll be aiming to continue to keep Anthony Martial and best friend Marcus Rashford out of Jose Mourinho’s team.