SINCE lighting up the 2018 World Cup, Longford’s Jesse Lingard has had to come through issues on and off the field.

But his return to the England squad is proof that the grass can be greener on the other side.

Lingard has been recalled to Gareth Southgate’s England squad after a two-year spell out of contention – a testament to his remarkable form of late.

He is part of a 26-man squad for this month’s World Cup qualification games against San Marino, Albania and Poland.

Lingard, a former William Beaumont Community High School pupil, has been on loan at West Ham United from Manchester United since January and has notched up four goals and two assists in six games.

His contributions have helped continue the Hammers’ outstanding season as they are perched in fifth place in the Premier League.

It has been far from an easy ride, however.

In July 2020, he announced that his mother’s depression and taking care of two of his younger siblings affected him hugely in the past season or two.

Within that time, he struggled for form and injuries and was displaced in the United starting side.

A move made sense and it has enabled him to flourish in East London.

And the foundations for him to prosper were built in Warrington – his grandfather Ken used to take him to Whitecross Community Centre to practice at the age of five.

From there through United’s academy and first-team to England, being down and getting back up, it has been quite a journey.

On the 28-year-old’s recall to the senior men’s squad, Southgate said: “It’s a great opportunity for him.

“We have a lot of belief in Jesse. We know what a good player he is.

“He’s played well for England whenever he has played and it’s good to see him back playing at club level with a smile on his face.”