Jesse Lingard hits back at his many critics – including Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher – for savaging 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 Forest’s next highest paid player
- Ex-Man United star seemed set to sign for West Ham, but signed for Forest
- Lingard said he opted against a move abroad for ‘life-changing’ money
Jesse Lingard has hit back at criticism over his summer transfer to Nottingham Forest, labelling it ‘nonsense’.
Lingard joined Premier League new boys Forest earlier this summer in a surprise deal after leaving Manchester United at the end of last season.
The midfielder’s intentions have been questions regarding the move, which will see him earn £120,000-per-week – almost four times Forest’s next highest earner.
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 ex-United star’s fiercest detractors, 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 he was shown was more of a motivating factor in his decision.
‘I could’ve gone abroad for a lot more money, life changing money,’ he said. ‘For me it’s nonsense, I don’t like to read into a lot of stuff too much, it was my decision.
‘The owners were very strong in their approach and went overboard and when I saw that kind of appreciation it’s hard to say no. I WhatsApp them and it’s like a family.
The midfielder has received widespread criticism after he decided against joining West Ham
‘They’ve showed me so much love getting here in the first place and that was one of the most importance factors.’
Lingard seemed set to rejoin West Ham, where he enjoyed a career-saving loan spell in the second half of the 2020/21 season.
But he instead opted to join Forest on a one-year-deal, receiving widespread from criticism from fans and pundits alike, including Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville.
Carragher said on the latest Overlap Fan Debate: ‘He went there for the money. I love Nottingham Forest, that they are back [in the Premier League], but if any footballer is picking 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 clever. Reputationally, he’s taken a hit. He could have signed a two-year deal where he leaves at the end of the season, if they go down, for free.’
Lingard spoke a lot about his interests outside of football, for which he has also been targeted for, suggesting they’re just as important to him as his career on the pitch.
‘I’m strong enough to deal with all that [criticism] now,’ he said.
‘I’ve been through a lot and it’s always me that will try and break to mould and set the next thing up for the next generation.
‘I started the clothing brand the week before we played Liverpool, but we got a win in the week. I do my YouTube stuff, I have my media company and they’re all things I enjoy.
Forest lost 2-0 away to Newcastle on the opening weekend of the Premier League season
‘I want things in place with my little one for when I finish football so she has something to look up to and it’s about what’s next. I’d like to go into acting.
‘I love football, it’s my passion, but when I finish I want to work on the next thing and my family can come into it when they’re older.’
Nottingham Forest face Lingard’s old side, West Ham, tomorrow in his first home game for the club.
It’s been reported that fans are planning to throw fake bank notes at the 29-year-old in fury after he turned them down this summer.