By Nick Ware

8th Sep, 2021 | 9:39am

West Ham coach Stuart Pearce delivers Jesse Lingard verdict amid Manchester United contract report

Stuart Pearce has delivered his verdict on reports that 2020/21 West Ham star Jesse Lingard has rejected a new contract from Manchester United.

Speaking on talkSPORT [08/09/21], host Laura Woods asked the Irons coach about the 28-year-old England international’s future.

“He’s [Lingard] is in the papers today apparently rejecting a contract offer from Manchester United,” Woods said.

“He’s concerned about the lack of potential playing time this season and might run his contract down. That’s what reports are saying this morning. I just wondered what you thought about that?”

Pearce replied: “Listen, players are at liberty to do what they want with their contracts now, with Bosman and freedom of contract. He’s obviously missed the opportunity to leave Manchester United in this [summer] window. He can reassess his situation come January, and decide whether there is an opportunity to move clubs or whatever.

“But listen, he holds the cards, Jesse. The most important thing for him at the moment is his football and he’s playing the odd game for United and also playing extremely well for England and those performances for England might well help him get in the United side.

“I think he’s too good a player to be sat on the outside of it not playing, to be honest with you, and he’s at an age where he needs to be playing now.”

2022 return?

It appeared inevitable that Lingard would return to the London Stadium this summer after his successful loan spell last season, but a move never transpired as he seemingly opted to stay put at Old Trafford.

There may also have been issues over the transfer fee demanded by Manchester United, but with Lingard out of contract next year, West Ham may stand a better chance of signing him on a permanent basis.

It remains to be seen how much of a chance the Warrington-born attacker will be given with the Premier League runners-up this season, but one has to think that he will look to leave if his playing time is severely restricted.

However, have the Irons moved on from him already?

Nikola Vlasic was brought in for big-money on deadline day so his replacement may already have been sourced, while his potential free agency will be attractive to a whole host of clubs.

However, it sounds like Pearce remains a big fan of Lingard, and his familiarity with the club surely makes them favourites if he becomes available again.

In other West Ham news, an ex-PL official has sent a warning to this Irons star amid major controversy last week.

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