Emerging West Ham starlet Jesse Lingard has earned a surprise nod for the 2021 PFA Young Player of the Year Award, Paddy Power News can exclusively reveal.
Since joining the Hammers on loan in the January transfer window, the attacking midfielder has found himself with six goals and three assists in eight matches, making the 28-year-old one of the most admired youngsters in the Premier League.
“He’s just a regular kid with bundles of energy” said West Ham boss David Moyes.
“For somebody so young he is actually quite mature, but it’s important he’s surrounded by exceptional senior players such as Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen, who are there to make sure he keeps his feet on the ground and doesn’t get carried away with the hype.
“I don’t like the media attention surrounding wonderkids” continued Moyes. “It’s unfair to put this type of pressure and expectation on Jesse, Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe at such a delicate age. Just let them get on with their game.”
Like many youngsters coming through at Manchester United, Lingard has found himself short of first-team opportunities to impress Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and it remains to be seen if he will return to Old Trafford at the end of the season, or if his move to East London will become permanent with a £30m price tag being suggested in the press.
“I just want to play football” Lingard told Paddy Power News.
“I have my whole career ahead of me and don’t want to make any big decisions until the season is over. It’s great to be part of the first team set-up training day in and day out with some top pros. I grew up watching Manuel Lanzini, so playing alongside him is a dream come true.”
Lingard is likely to face stiff opposition for the prestigious award from fellow youngsters Bukayo Saka (19), Mason Mount (22) and Pedro Neto (21), who have all had remarkable seasons.
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