On Wednesday, the 29-year-old was finally announced to be leaving the Red Devils after 20 years and Mourinho, who coached him at Old Trafford for two-and-a-half seasons, appears to be wasting no time in plotting a transfer swoop once Lingard’s contract officially expires at the end of this month.
Now a free agent, the 32-time capped England international is already on the Roma manager’s list of transfer targets, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, with the newly-crowned Europa Conference League champions ‘evaluating’ a move.
While finances are expected to determine whether or not a deal can be done, Lingard’s comments on playing for Mourinho again hint at his answer to the call, having also been tipped for a reunion during the ex- Chelsea manager’s ill-fated time in charge of Tottenham Hotspur.
Reflecting on his career so far with The Players Tribune, the midfielder lifted the lid on his “good relationship” with the Portuguese, shedding light on the personal connection his players shared with him.
“Me and Jose had a good relationship generally, though, I have to say. He was good to me,” the United academy graduate, whose best goalscoring spell for the club came under Mourinho, explained. “Before all the injury stuff, he trusted me, put me in for important games. We won trophies and he made me a winner. He could just bring out that side in you.
Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge)
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“He also liked to have a personal connection with his players. Sometimes I’d look at my phone and I’d be getting a random FaceTime from him. Just out of nowhere — just to check in. I used to find it so strange at first. He’d call and be like, ‘Hey Jesse, what are you doing?’
“And I’d be like, ‘Erm, just chilling, watching TV … (awkward silence) … what are you doing?’ “Hahaha! I found it funny. And, to be fair, it showed how much he cared about us.”
The admiration from a personal point of view is mutual, too, as Mourinho said of Lingard to the Daily Mail in 2018: “He is a naughty but funny guy. He is the funny one that doesn’t disturb the class. He is the funny one that the teacher isn’t upset with. He is the one that makes things work.
“In the right moment, he is positive and he makes everyone in the class laugh and creates a good atmosphere and that is the atmosphere that we always want in our class, because I was also a school teacher and I know what it means. We like the funny person that doesn’t disturb and makes everyone happier. We don’t like the naughty ones who disturb everyone as they learn.”