New arrival Jesse Lingard admitted the prospect of a play-off push convinced him to join Brighton & Hove Albion on loan from Manchester United until the end of the season.
The 21-year-old, who attracted the interest of a number of Premier League and Championship clubs, said, “A few clubs were interested; Brighton are pushing for the play-offs and I want to play for a team high up the table.
“I like the style of play. The players here like to create things and they keep possession very well in games – that is how I like to play. They are doing well at the moment and it will be great if we can make the play-offs.
“If I can help get the team into the top six that would be a fantastic achievement, both personally and for Brighton & Hove Albion. To go to Wembley would be massive and if we can secure that spot it would be good to have that chance.”
Lingard played for parent club Man Utd in their pre-season tour
Warrington-born Lingard also says the opportunity of learning playing alongside Albion’s experienced players and the club’s fan base were other factors in his decision to make the switch to the Amex.
“I am still learning. It will be a new experience for me playing here. It’s a great stadium that attracts big crowds, but I am looking forward to getting used to it once I start playing games.
“The facilities are out of this world. It’s a Premier League stadium. I know Brighton get the biggest crowds week in, week out in the Football League. Fans make the games, so it’s good to have such a big fan base.”
Lingard takes a look at the Amex
Lingard has spent time on loan at Leicester City and Birmingham City, and hit the headlines when he made his debut for Blues in September, smashing four goals on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday.
“I think the Birmingham loan benefited me more. At Leicester I made five sub appearances, but at Birmingham I played every game and scored goals. It got my name out there, raised my profile and it was a massive step in my career.
“I scored my first senior goal against Sheffield Wednesday. Before the game I was a bit nervous, it was my first start in the Championship. I didn’t know what to expect.
“Then Chris Burke has a shot from the edge of the area, the keeper parried it into my path and I scored a tap in. That really gave me my confidence, and after that I went on to score a second and third before half-time.
“At half time I was told to keep my focus, keep playing and get the three points which was of course the main thing. I got a fourth goal in the second half. Overall it was an emotional journey for my first 90 minutes and it was one for the scrapbook!”