Nottingham Forest head coach Steve Cooper has praised Jesse Lingard despite a relatively tough start to his Reds career.

The Forest boss put Lingard on the bench for the game against Fulham, bringing him on with the Reds chasing the game.

Forest added the 29-year-old to their ranks in the summer, with the player choosing the City Ground over West Ham.

Lingard has come under fire from supporters but Cooper has been quick to defend his versatile forward.

Cooper praised Lingard
(Photo; Andrew Kearns; CameraSport; Getty Images)

The player could start at Leicester tonight and he’s scored five goals during his career against the Foxes.

Cooper has been impressed with the player and has been discussing the form of Lingard with Nottinghamshire Live.

He said: “Jesse and I get on great.

“I’ve reminded him that he only came in shortly before the start of the season. He’s actually done a lot, from missing pre-season to where he is now in terms of physical status.

“We don’t want to see Jesse not starting games; that’s not why he’s here. He doesn’t want to either – every player will say that. We’re both ready for him to step up in terms of his contributions to games.

“He hasn’t been poor. Don’t get me wrong, he hasn’t been bad and a lot of the time he’s been good but we know he’s a really talented guy. We’re seeing that in training.”

Cooper has praised Lingard

It’s nice to see Cooper publicly backing Lingard to come good for the club.

You don’t enjoy the career that the attack has had without having some talent and naturally, the Reds did well to get him.

Lingard has got one assist to his name during the 2022/23 campaign.

That came against West Ham in the first home game of the season and more is required from Lingard.

Cooper praised Lingard
(Photo; Andrew Kearns; CameraSport; Getty Images)

The player is only likely to improve by being trusted to play regularly.

One challenge for Cooper is to discover where best to fit Lingard into his plans during 2022/23.

The sooner he does that, the quicker Forest can get up to speed and Lingard can start enjoying his football again.

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