By Toby Cudworth
Jesse Lingard has admitted he drank alcohol ‘to try to ease the pain’ as his Manchester United career stalled.
Lingard joined Nottingham Forest last summer on a free transfer, signing a one-year deal at The City Ground after finishing a 22-year stay at Manchester United.
The 30-year-old had enjoyed a successful loan deal at West Ham United before returning to Man Utd in 2021, but was unable to fit into manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans despite being persuaded to stay.
Scorer of the winning goal in 2016 England cup final, Lingard revealed that the abuse he was receiving from supporters, coupled with his mother’s battle with depression, had left him relying on alcohol before sleep.
“I was drinking before bed, drinking a nightcap,” Lingard said The diary of a CEO podcasts. “Now I look back and think, ‘What was I doing this for?’ But I needed something to try and take the pain away and put me at ease somehow.
“I was trying to forget what was going on. But it makes it 10 times worse.
“You’re being abused so much, and I’m already down enough, and I have to perform. I’m already going through things you don’t know… I felt like the world was on my shoulders.”
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Talking about her mother’s depression, lingard she continued: ‘The depression was so bad that she couldn’t take it anymore and needed to go away and get help.
“But leaving me with my little sister who was 11 at the time and my little brother who was 15, for me, I was still going through my own stuff too.
“So I wasn’t really the big brother they wanted at the time. They always have the fun, the laugh, the bubbly Jesse and I were going through my own stuff, so I was on autopilot. I just wasn’t there mentally.”
Lingard revealed that he finally spoke to Solskjaer about his issues after being abused afterwards UnitedThe FA Cup victory over Derby in March 2020.
“Being bullied like that turned it around. I didn’t want to be on the pitch, I didn’t want to play. I didn’t want to leave football, I would never leave football, but I needed a break.
“I need to find a motivation, some fire in my belly to start over because I can’t do it.
“We bonded very closely, but also just to make Ole say, ‘How is your mother? How is she?’ helped, to let people know what I was going through.”
This article was originally posted on 90min.com as Jesse Lingard admits alcohol has helped ‘take the pain away’ at Man Utd.