An Old Trafford academy graduate had his pick of clubs in the North West as a youngster, but says the Red Devils were always his preferred choice
Jesse Lingard admits to having snubbed Liverpool and Manchester City to link up with Manchester United and claims to pay no attention to those who are quick to criticise him.
A Warrington native had the pick of leading clubs in the North West during his younger years.
His potential was spotted early and there was a clamour to try and secure his services by teams across the Football League.
United won the race, with Lingard claiming that the Red Devils were the only side for him having grown up as a supporter of the 13-time Premier League champions.
He told United’s official podcast of his decision to join their academy system: “It was left down to me to pick a club and I felt United were best suited to me personally.
“(Manchester) City, Liverpool, Everton and I think Crewe at the time (were interested) but I knew Man United was my home.
“I have a picture in a United kit when I was one year old. When I was seven I had trials and signed when I was nine.”
It has not been plain sailing for Lingard during his time at Old Trafford.
He had to be patient in a bid to earn regular game time with United, with a number of loan spells taken in before getting his big break.
The 26-year-old has gone on to take in 183 appearances for the club, while earning 24 caps for England, but remains a divisive figure in the eyes of some.
Lingard has learned to turn a deaf ear to his detractors, though, saying: “There are a lot of things on social media, with people saying nasty things. You can’t get drawn into all that stuff.
Click Here: Cheap FIJI Rugby Jersey“I don’t read that stuff, I don’t read papers. That’s why it’s tough for young footballers coming through now, they’re so attracted to social media and what people are saying about them, they don’t actually know how good they are themselves. For me, I just don’t read anything online.
“When I first got into the first team I started reading things like that, but now I still don’t read it if it’s going well.
“One person can hate you and one person can love you, that’s just life. You have to get on with it. We’ve got to play in front of 75,000 people every week. At United, it’s the biggest club in the world, so you get criticised either way. For us as players, we’ve just got to get on with it and be thick-skinned.
“I love football. I love training, I love playing, I love the fans, the stadiums. I love everything about football. For me, I’m an out-and-out footballer.”