Jesse Lingard has hit back at his many critics – including Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher – for saving his big-money move to Nottingham Forest, insisting he turned down life-changing money to move abroad.
- Jesse Lingard has hit back at critics of his summer move to Nottingham Forest
- The deal will see Lingard earn almost six times the next highest paid player at Forest
- The ex-Man United star looked set to sign for West Ham but instead signed for Forest instead
- Lingard said he opted for a move abroad for “life-changing” money.
Jesse Lingard has come under fire for his summer move to Nottingham Forest, calling it “nonsense”.
Lingard joined Premier League new boys Forest at the start of the summer in a shock deal after leaving Manchester United at the end of last season.
The midfielder’s intentions have been questioned over the move, which will see him earn £120,000-a-week, almost four times Forest’s next highest.
Jesse Lingard signed for Nottingham Forest after leaving Manchester United this summer
Pundits Jamie Carragher (left) and Gary Neville (right) have questioned Lingard’s decision
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have been among the fiercest detractors of the former United States star, with the former insisting he went for the money, while the latter insisting Lingard’s reputation “has taken a hit”.
But Lingard, speaking to Soccer AM, has hit back, insisting the love shown him was more of a motivating factor in his decision.
“I could have gone overseas for a lot more money, life-changing money,” he said. “For me it’s nonsense, I don’t like to read too much, it was my decision.
“The owners were very strong in their approach and they went on board and when I saw that kind of appreciation, it’s hard to say no. I WhatsApp them and it’s like family.
The midfielder has come under widespread criticism after deciding not to join West Ham
“First of all, they’ve shown me so much love to get here and that was one of the biggest factors.”
Lingard looked set to join West Ham, where he enjoyed a career-saving loan in the second half of the 2020/21 season.
But he instead opted to join Forest on a one-year deal, drawing widespread criticism from fans and pundits including Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville.
Carragher told Overlap’s latest fan debate: “He went there for the money. I love Nottingham Forest, they’re back [in the Premier League]but if any footballer is choosing Nottingham Forest right now, before West Ham and what they’ve done in the last two or three years, they’ve obviously gone there for a few quid.
Neville added: “Jesse could have been smart. Reputationally, he’s taken a hit. He could have signed a two-year contract where he leaves at the end of the season, if they go down, for free.”
Lingard spoke volumes about his interests outside of football, which he has also been targeted for, suggesting they are just as important to him as his career on the pitch.
“I am strong enough to face all this [criticism] now,’ he said.
“I’ve been through a lot and it’s always me who will try to break the mold and prepare the next one for the next generation.
“I started the clothing brand the week before we played against Liverpool, but we won the week. I do my YouTube stuff, I have my media company and it’s all things that I love.
Forest lost 2-0 at home to Newcastle on the opening weekend of the Premier League season
“I want things to be in place with my little girl by the time soccer is over so she has something to look forward to and she’s all about the next thing. I’d like to go into acting.
“I love football, it’s my passion, but when it’s over I want to work on the next one and my family can get into it when they grow up.”
Nottingham Forest take on Lingard’s former side West Ham tomorrow in their first home game for the club.
Fans are reportedly planning to throw fake tickets at the 29-year-old in fury after he turned them down this summer.
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