It’s now very clear why Steve Bruce’s ‘top January target’ rejected loan move to Newcastle

Back in January, Sky Sports confirmed Jesse Lingard has rejected a loan move to St James’ Park – a decision that’s been more than justified, sadly.

The Athletic reported soon after deadline day that the Man Utd midfielder was Steve Bruce’s top target in the January window and a player he regretted missing out on as he chose to link up with former boss David Moyes at West Ham instead.

Fast forward a few months and it’s very clear to see why he made the right choice.

Lingard has scored five goals in his seven Premier League appearances for The Hammers and made his first start for England in 21 months on Thursday night as they cruised to a 5-0 win over San Marino at Wembley.

His form at West Ham was the reason why he has been welcomed back into the international picture – a purple patch he probably would never have had if he decided to join NUFC.

With Newcastle already in the middle of a disastrous spell in January, that form has continued up until now, with him essentially opting for West Ham’s push for a top four finish over a relegation battle on Tyneside.

The man who we brought in instead of Lingard can be used as a gauge for how bad things might have gone.

Yes, Joe Willock made an immediate impact on his debut, scoring the opener in our 3-2 victory against Southampton, our last win back in February. However, since then he has looked short of confidence, with some even calling this the “Bruce effect” after suffering just two months of his management.

One thing is for sure, had Lingard pursued a move to Tyneside, he certainly wouldn’t have been lining up in an England shirt – and impressing – on the international stage last night.

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