January 27, 2023

Punditry duo Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have criticized Jesse Lingard’s decision to move to Nottingham Forest – suggesting that his reputation ‘has taken a dent’.

The former Man United midfielder made a move to the newly promoted Premier League team last month after turning down West Ham, who were also interested in his services.

Lingard has since met with some criticism, and the punditry duo didn’t flinch at their suggestions of moving to Forest ‘for the money’.

Jamie Carragher (L) and Gary Neville have criticized Jesse Lingard’s recent move at their event

Lingard signed a lucrative deal worth £120,000 a week with Nottingham Forest this summer

In part two of the Overlap Live Fan Debate, Carragher said, “Hey… [Jesse Lingard] went there [Nottingham Forest] for the money. I love Nottingham Forest that they are back [in the Premier League].

“If a footballer chooses Nottingham Forest now, ahead of West Ham and what they’ve been doing for the past two or three years, they’ve clearly gone there for a few pounds. And the fact that he’s only signed for one year means he’ll be free or Bosman next year [ruling].

“There is a good chance that Forest will go down, but it will put Jesse Lingard in a good position if he scores eight to ten goals for them. But if West Ham wants you now, I can’t believe he never went to West Ham. It’s brilliant for Nottingham Forest.’

The England international, who left Manchester United at the end of his contract, turned his back on West Ham to sign for Forest, despite excelling on loan with the Hammers last season. He has put up a base salary of £80,000 a week, the rest to be made up for in potential bonuses.

Meanwhile, Neville claimed that: ‘It just felt very transactional’ [Lingard signing for Nottingham Forest].

“Football fans, when it comes down to it, later in the year, if Jesse is associated with where he’s going next year for four or five months, it’s not going to end well.

“Fans don’t like that kind of transaction. They like to play the game. She [Nottingham Forest] could have given it a different shape. Two years [on a contract] and if we go down, a little clause in the contract that says you can leave for free.’

“Jesse could have been smart. His reputation has taken a hit. He could have signed a two-year contract where he leaves for free at the end of the season – if they drop out.”

Lingard’s decision to turn down West Ham for Forest means he can expect an icy reception from the away fans when he makes his home debut on August 14.

Lingard chose not to return to West Ham, where he starred on loan in the 2020-21 season

Neville continued: “No one needs to know about that clause and it’s just smart. Why expose yourself to the fact that it looks cold, ruthless and money hungry? And he turned down West Ham. This won’t be good in public with the media, or the fans if he starts talking about it after six months [moving elsewhere].

‘No one ever doubts his work ethic, he has always surpassed. He had put pressure on him to leave a few years ago, people thought he must be Ronaldo or something – and clearly he’s not that type of player.

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“I just think in terms of how you portray yourself and are viewed in football – you can sometimes make moves that mean being portrayed in a way that will not help you in your future life after football. This was one he could look back on and think, “I wish I hadn’t.”

The midfielder could be met hostilely by West Ham fans later this month

Forest approached Lingard with a lucrative deal of £120,000 a week to join their team ahead of their first Premier League campaign since 1999.

The Hammers were also in the transfer race to sign Lingard permanently after his successful loan spell in 2020/21. However, they were reluctant to make their own bid, which was lower than Forest’s.

That’s why Forest won the transfer race to the 29-year-old – who is just one of 12 new Steve Cooper signings preparing to return to the top flight.