Jesse Lingard's odds in the PFA Player of the Year betting slashed to 20/1 with Paddy Power
Just six months ago, Jesse Lingard’s career was pretty much non-existent. Left out in the cold at Manchester United with seemingly no route back into the fold at Old Trafford, the 28-year-old needed a huge change in fortune to get things back on track.
Now, four months into his tenure at West Ham United - the club he joined on loan until the end of the season back in January - things couldn’t be more different.
The 27-cap England international has been a revelation since arriving at the London Stadium at the beginning of the year, and on Sunday scored his seventh and eighth goals in claret and blue as the Hammers edged a thrilling five-goal affair against top-four rivals Leicester.
PFA POTY odds slashed
With confidence at a sky high, there seems to be no stopping the Englishman at the minute. With eight goals and three assists from just nine outings for his temporary club, Lingard has seen his odds in the PFA Player of the Year betting slashed to just 20/1 with Paddy Power.
It must be noted that bet365 are still offering much more realistic odds of 100/1 for him to land the coveted award, although that is still a significant price-decrease from the 500/1 he could be found at back in October whilst sitting in the Old Trafford dugout on a weekly basis.
While it remains incredibly unlikely that Lingard will beat the likes of Bruno Fernandes (10/11 favourite), Ruben Dias (3/1), Harry Kane (4/1) or Kevin De Bruyne (12/1) to the biggest personal accolade in English club football, it is a testament to his character and performances throughout the second half of the campaign that his odds have been cut so significantly by certain firms.
And, with still seven games of the season left to play, should Lingard continue this fine form from now until May 23 - notching a few more goals and assists whilst helping West Ham secure Champions League football for the first time in their history - there is nothing to say that the resurgent midfielder wouldn’t stand a chance in pulling off a huge shock by beating his currently-more-deserving peers to the elusive award.
Hammers within touching distance of making history
It is not just Lingard’s personal performances for West Ham that have caught the eye. Since joining the London club, the Red Devils loanee has lifted the performance of his team-mates and clearly provided a hugely positive impact both on and off the pitch.
We know that Lingard is a character behind the scenes and his personality is infectious, which in football - especially throughout times of widespread difficulty brought on by an ongoing pandemic - is imperative to team morale.
The likes of Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio were enjoying solid campaigns long before Lingard’s arrival but since he joined the club, the two have flourished with a combined five goals and five assists to show for their efforts; a lot of it has been helped by the 28-year-old’s creative influence in the final third.
West Ham have been phenomenal this season and now look in good shape to secure Champions League football for the first time in 2021-22. The Hammers began the season as 150/1 rank outsiders for a top-four finish but they are now as short as 7/4 to make history by achieving such a feat.
While it has been a tremendous collective effort from the entire squad - and extra plaudits must go to the likes of Thomas Soucek, Vladimír Coufal, Aaron Cresswell and the aforementioned Bowen and Antonio for their exemplary performances throughout the season - the addition of Lingard cannot be downplayed in importance and he is another key reason why the Iron currently find themselves where they do at the business end of a testing campaign.
Premier League top-four finish
Does he make the plane?
It has not gone unnoticed by England manager Gareth Southgate, either, who recalled his former midfielder to the Three Lions squad for the recent World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland, where he performed well when given minutes on the field.
Lingard was priced at 50/1 to make England’s Euro 2021 squad in January but he is now odds-on at 1/6 to make the final-23, with many believing he deserves to start the first game against Croatia on June 13 (cut from 9/1 to 3/1 with Sky Bet).
Whether he does enough to warrant a position at the Euros from now until the season’s end remains to be seen, but should performances like the ones we all witnessed against Wolves and Leicester during the previous fortnight continue, Lingard will surely make himself undroppable for the national side this summer.
Reported interest from European heavyweights
Finally, there is the case of where the future lies for a player at somewhat of a crossroads in his career. One good half-season does not determine the entire prospects of a certain football player, just like one bad spell does not warrant him being disregarded as a lost cause or mean that he is past his sell-by date. Lingard has experienced both sides of the coin.
He will be 29 at the end of the year with realistically four good seasons at the very top left in the tank, potentially more if injuries are kind to him. His deal at Manchester United expires next summer and as of yet it is unclear whether or not the Red Devils will offer him a new one - although they may be foolish not to having witnessed what he is capable of with a bit of wind behind the sails.
Ultimately, Lingard’s next move will likely be his last one in a top-rate league. If United do decide against offering him a new deal, they’ll need to cash in their playmaker for a bit of profit before losing him on a free next summer. West Ham will be the obvious favourites to land their loanee on a permanent basis, though there has been reported interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs after Lingard’s glistening recent run.
ESPN report that Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and Real Madrid are among the clubs monitoring Lingard’s situation ahead of this summer’s market opening, so it will be very interesting to see where he ends up at the start of next season. We will, of course, endeavor to bring you the latest odds for his list of perspective clubs as soon as they are released.
As for the here and now, Lingard just needs to take it one game at a time. For the first time in a long time he is doing his talking on the pitch, and currently it is deafening.