George Parris: ‘The longer the Lingard saga dragged on, the less likely it was we’d sign him’

The good news for us though is that we have brought in a few new players. How will they get on?

Michail Antonio (WHU), behind post, scores the first goal for West Ham 1-0, at the EPL match West Ham United v Burnley, at the London Stadium, London, UK on 16th January, 2021. English Premier League matches are still being played behind closed doors because of the current COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, and government social distancing/lockdown restrictions.

I wasn’t surprised to see Jesse Lingard end up at a club like Nottingham Forest.

With him being available on a free, there were always going to be a number of clubs interested in signing him.

I just felt like the longer this saga rumbled on that he wouldn’t be coming to West Ham.

I don’t know what his England aspirations are but maybe he felt that he’d get more game time at Forest and if he hits the ground running there that he could get back into the squad.

The good news for us though is that we have brought in a few new players. How will they get on? You just don’t know until the season is in full swing.

But I do still think we are at least two or three players light and hopefully we’ve still got enough time to recruit the players that are needed for this season.

We’ll especially need more bodies during the first half of this season as the games will feel like they’re coming thick and fast before the break for the World Cup. 


If we start the season really well, we could be in a really good position before the break for the World Cup but the problem with that is we could lose all the momentum, although that’s no fault of our own.

On the flip side, if we don’t start too well, then the break could be welcomed. Just like it turned out to be with COVID when we really were in the fight of our lives at the bottom end of the table, only to turn things around when Project Restart happened.

Of course, I hope we start well, and I hope we’re in the top half or even top eight come the World Cup and can kick on once the domestic games return at the end of December.

Overall, my hope for this campaign is that we are able to get as close as possible to repeating last season.

For me, that’s the ideal scenario, to enjoy another campaign in Europe but also qualify for Europe again. 

Top Eight

Can we now regularly secure a top eight finish? That’s got to be our realistic aim. 

Sure it’ll be great to break into the top four but before a ball has even been kicked this season, I don’t think that’s realistic.

With the Europa Conference, my view right now is if we are still in this competition heading into the New Year, then I’ll feel like it’s worth going for it because winning will give us a route into the Europa League.

Before any new season kicks off, there’s always a number of pre-season friendlies where you obviously don’t want to have a poor run of results and get beat every game.

But for me, it’s all about building yourself up again, ready for the new season.

You’re never going to be up at the same level that you ended the season but it’s just about getting enough game time in your legs to be able to perform and compete.

Our pre-season before the 85/86 season was really poor but look at what we went on to achieve after that.

Not ready

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has said he believes his side isn’t ready for the season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they went on a run at the very start.

For us, the time before pre-season was always about drinking and eating as much as you could in that time.

You’d arrive at pre-season a few pounds heavier but you knew by the time the season arrived, you’d be back in shape.

But today, the players have a training schedule after the season ends so they never really switch off compared to what we used to.

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