Manchester United supporters have fallen in love with the happy-go-lucky Jesse Lingard over the past year or two - and now England fans are, too.
The 25-year-old always has a smile on his face and loves to have a laugh. He doesn’t take life too seriously, even though he’s always deadly serious once he crosses the white line.
Well, unless he’s celebrating one of his goals. He always has a new goal celebration up his sleeve and, more often than not, only the younger generation know what they mean.
Lingard scored his first World Cup goal in England’s 6-1 thrashing of Panama on Sunday afternoon and celebrated by doing something called the ‘Shoot’ dance. Nope, us neither.
The attacking midfielder missed a couple of good opportunities to score in England’s 2-1 win over Tunisia last week, so must have been delighted to get off the mark against Panama.
And what a goal it was, too. After exchanging passes with Raheem Sterling, Lingard curled in a magnificent right-footed effort into the top corner of the net.
Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo could do nothing to prevent the ball from flying past him.
What Lingard did on the bench in stoppage time
Gareth Southgate subbed Lingard off along with Harry Kane just after the hour mark to keep them fresh for England’s upcoming fixtures. The Three Lions face Belgium next Thursday night and will then find out which team they’ll be facing in the Round of 16.
But before full-time - and even though he was off the pitch - Lingard further endeared himself to the England fans with his antics on the bench.
England’s No. 7 found some socks and then decided to do some kick-ups with them while the game was still going on.
Brilliant. He’s clearly loving every minute of being out in Russia and why shouldn’t he?
Fantastic team spirit in the England squad
England fans took to social media after seeing Lingard’s showcase his tricks in the dugout - and they reckon it’s yet more evidence of the fantastic team spirit that’s currently present in the squad.
It’s certainly refreshing to have players like Lingard in the squad. Players with no ego who are happy to do whatever the manager asks them and improve the mood of those around them.
It remains to be seen whether Lingard and co. can inspire England to the quarter-finals, semi-finals or beyond.
But right now they believe anything is possible - and so do England's fans.
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