Opinion: Jesse Lingard will fire West Ham to the Champions League and ignite his England ambitions in the process

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When West Ham came in for Jesse Lingard in the January transfer window, it wasn’t a surprise to hear certain people suggesting that it was nothing more than a hopeful punt from David Moyes.

After all, the attacking midfielder had done nothing of note in the previous 12 months and couldn’t even get into a relatively underperforming Manchester United side.

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However, the switch to London has been a blessing for the player, and it just goes to show how much having the support of those around you is a difference maker.

That’s not to say that United weren’t looking after Lingard’s welfare, but by the very nature of not naming him in match day squads, it was obvious his confidence would be eroded and that vicious circle would begin to turn.

In the two short months he’s been at the Hammers, the player has shown everyone what he’s really about again, and on current form, there’s little doubt that he’ll help fire them into the Champions League.

He’s been the fulcrum of a side that were already playing well before his arrival, and his addition has taken West Ham up another notch.

Football can often be about momentum, and a few months shy of the European Championship is the perfect time to be playing your best football.

Gareth Southgate will ignore Lingard at his peril.

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