ODION IGHALO believes Jesse Lingard is thriving because the pressure of playing for Manchester United has been lifted.
Lingard, 28, has been in scintillating form with eight goals in nine appearances since joining West Ham in January.
And he has played a pivotal role in maintaining the Hammers’ push for a shock top four finish, after featuring just three times for United in the first half of the campaign and going TWO YEARS without a goal.
Lingard’s terrific performances have even earned a shock recall to the England squad.
But Ighalo, who spent a year on loan at Old Trafford with Lingard, is not suprised to see the atttacking midfielder getting back to his best.
He told Sky Sports: “He works so hard in training and when he was given the opportunity to play for Manchester United, he did so well.
“But when you play for a team like Manchester United, there’s a pressure to win every game.
“Manchester United is all about winning, winning, winning, and sometimes that pressure kicks in.
“West Ham is not as big as Manchester United and he’s there on loan so he’s more free to express himself.
“There’s not as much pressure or weight on him to do well and he is doing what we know he can do and we are seeing the best of him.”
Ighalo, who now plays for Saudi club Al Shabab, believes Lingard’s future at Manchester United is now over.
He added: “I don’t think he’d want to return to Manchester United to sit on the bench because he is playing regularly at West Ham United – week in, week out.
“But if he comes back with the confidence he has now, then it can only be a good thing for Manchester United.
“Personally, I don’t see him coming back – I can see his loan being extended or West Ham buying him.”
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