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Jesse Lingard has refuted claims of harsh criticism from FC Seoul manager Kim Gi-dong, asserting that the reports were exaggerated.

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Following Lingard’s move to South Korea in February, he has yet to secure a goal or an assist in his three appearances for the club. This lackluster start prompted strong criticism from Kim, who expressed disappointment with Lingard’s performance.

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“I’ve been thinking a lot about removing Jesse [from the team],” Kim remarked. “If a player who only plays for a few minutes doesn’t go in and show off, fight and run as well as players who play for 90 minutes, I don’t think he is a football player. His name has no value on the pitch, and I will tell him that exactly.”

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While these remarks stirred controversy when reported in the English media, both Kim and Lingard downplayed the severity of the message.

“I think it was a little exaggerated in the media,” Lingard responded. “That’s part of football, too. I returned to training and had a thorough conversation with the manager, and now I’m focusing on the next game.”

Kim clarified, “As soon as he saw me, he didn’t say hello but instead gave me a hug. I said: ‘You are a special player and you need to take on the role of a leader, and in that regard, I did that interview’.”

Despite currently nursing a knee injury, Lingard remains determined to make a positive impact for Seoul.

“I think everything depends on me,” he concluded. “I’m preparing by pushing myself harder to show what the coach wants on the pitch.”

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