Jesse Lingard will playing against Manchester United this evening for the first time since he left the club for Nottingham Forest in the summer.

Having spent 22 years at the club and not agreeing a new contract, it was clear that Lingard would be leaving, so had his last opportunity to say goodbye to the fans in the final home game of the season against Brentford. With the game wrapped up at 3-0, Edinson Cavani was brought on but Lingard remained on the bench, with Phil Neville and Fred making up Ralf Rangnick’s remaining substitutions.

Speaking with Sport Bible, Lingard has reflected on how that felt and how much he’s looking forward to seeing the fans again.

It was the last home game and he didn’t put me on. I just thought, can you not put me on, even if it was just for the last five minutes so I can clap the fans and have a send-off? I felt like I deserved that, to be honest. But it didn’t happen. Hopefully I can go back there and do it. I was itching to get on. I was trying but, like I say, it didn’t happen.

It’ll be good to hopefully get a send-off. Obviously I didn’t do one last time. So, It’ll be good to see the fans and my old teammates again. But we’ll be going there to win. It’s not about seeing friends again. It’s an important game, which we need to win.

Lingard, a lifelong United supporter, didn’t make the decision leave United lightly. Following a successful spell at West Ham, neither Ole Gunnar Solskjaer nor Rangnick gave him anywhere close to the opportunities he deserved, especially with United struggling so badly on the pitch. Lingard has explained how the lack of playing time forced him to find a new club.

It was game time. It’s always going to be difficult playing at United but the lack of game time was the main thing. I just wanted to play football and that was the main aim. There was no point in staying there if I wasn’t going to play. I wanted to go to a new team, play regularly and be happy on the pitch.

I thought they [Forest] showed so much eagerness and love towards me. The manager came to my house. The owners wanted to fly me to Greece to get the deal over the line. When a team shows that much love, it’s really hard to say no, to be honest.

I wanted a different challenge. It’s a newly-promoted team. It’s another chapter in my career. I’m embracing it and I’m loving it at the moment, especially the past two league games against Tottenham and Crystal Palace. We played really well. We just need to keep that momentum up.