FC Seoul's Jesse Lingard / Newsis

FC Seoul defeated Jeju United 2-0 in the third round of the Hana Bank K League 1 2024 at the Seoul World Cup Stadium in Mapo District, Seoul, March 16. It was FC Seoul’s first win of the season and Kim Gi-dong’s first official victory as FC Seoul head coach.

However, the victory was overshadowed by Kim’s evident frustration with Lingard’s lackluster performance. Despite playing for approximately 32 minutes after 안전 being substituted in the second half, Lingard failed to make a significant impact on the game, neither scoring nor providing any assists. A potential goal from a Lingard cross was nullified due to an offside decision, further adding to the disappointment surrounding his contribution.

Lingard’s performances in the opening matches against Gwangju FC and Incheon also fell short of expectations, prompting Kim to publicly question the player’s commitment and effectiveness on the field.

“I even thought about taking Lingard off again,” Kim said after the match. He criticized Lingard for his lack of effort and physicality, stating, “A player who doesn’t play a full 90 minutes and doesn’t fight is not a football player. It’s not about playing football based on one’s reputation. If that’s the case, it’s better to bring in a retired player.”

Kim emphasized the need for a frank discussion with Lingard, noting that despite daily meetings, the player’s actions have not matched his words. “If he does not show improvement through his actions, it’s unacceptable. We will continue to work on changing his behavior and habits so he can integrate into the team more quickly,” Kim said.

Following the match against Jeju, Lingard has now left for England. The K League is currently on a break for the A-match period from March 18 to 26, during which Lingard has taken the opportunity to visit his home country. As the league resumes, all eyes will be on Lingard to see if he can turn his fortunes around and live up to the expectations of his fans and coach alike.

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