Man Utd's Lingard considered break from football amid mental health concerns

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Chicharito's plea to normalise mental health conversations (0:43)

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez passionately explains why he hopes to see more discussion around mental health. (0:43)

Jesse Lingard has said that he considered taking a break from football last year due to issues concerning the mental health of his family and himself.

The forward also discussed how coping with his mother's depression impacted his life on and off the pitch. The interview was conducted in January but was released on Thursday.

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Lingard spoke to entertainment show "Presenting" and when asked whether he considered hanging up his boots, he replied: "Not quit football, just have a time out really.

"I was going into games happy sitting on the bench and that's not me. I was telling my brother the other day: 'Remember when I was happy sitting on the bench and all this?'

"I didn't want to play because my mind wasn't there, I wasn't focused at all. I was thinking about other things and obviously bottling it all up; trying to play football, you can't do it.

"Through the years we had the help for her, but even just for me it's hard to bottle things up. It feels like you're not the same person. I felt like I wasn't Jesse Lingard.

"Even in football matches, I felt like the game was just passing me by, like I just didn't want to be there -- it was crazy. So, I opened up to [Manchester] United and told them what I was going through, what my mum was going through and they're always there to help."

Lingard left Manchester United to join West Ham on loan in the January transfer window and has thrived, contributing nine goals in 10 appearances for David Moyes' side.

Before his loan move, Lingard was not a regular starter at Old Trafford but said the first lockdown in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic changed his outlook in a positive way.

"I could have easily quit in lockdown, been like: 'Nah I don't want to do it,'" he added. "I could have easily given up but the fight in me always brings me back to life and in lockdown I was just smashing gym, doing runs. I wanted to get back to training fitter and faster than anyone else and I did that.

"I feel like lockdown has kind of transitioned me in a way. I watched my old games back and watched the World Cup games back and I thought: 'Yeah, that's the real Jesse Lingard.'

"The time that I had going a couple seasons back or last season, it just wasn't me at all and you can see that. My brother who lives with me, he could see that and he's got a video of me literally laying on the couch and I'm just staring for three minutes into thin air and he's just thinking: 'What is he going through? He's got the weight of the world on his shoulders.' And even he didn't know what I was going through at the time.

"I feel like with my mum and me I've learnt that when you open up you feel like a butterfly -- you're in a cocoon and then you can spread your wings, you can fly. It's an amazing feeling and now I've got all that behind me and I can concentrate on football and my family."