Jesse Lingard is determined to pay back Manchester United for the faith shown in him as he feels the club always believed in him.
The 22-year-old made his first-team debut in Louis van Gaal’s first game at the helm – a 2-1 loss to Swansea City on the opening day of the 2014-15 season – and has started to establish himself this term.
The former Derby County loanee netted once in United’s 2-0 Premier League win over West Brom this month, while he set up the winner in the 1-0 Champions League victory over CSKA Moscow.
“I was very small as a kid and they just gave me that trust. They could have let me go, they could have sent me to another club, but obviously the coaches stuck by me. They knew the ability I had,” Lingard told the UEFA’s website.
“Coming up to the Under-18s, reserves, that’s when I started kicking on a bit more.
“David Moyes promoted me to the first team and my confidence just grew from then.”
Lingard revealed he took inspiration from fellow academy graduates Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley as he made his own journey from youth-level prospect to first-team player.
“The fans want to see homegrown players come through. Seeing the likes of Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley coming through, that gave me confidence to say: ‘I can do it as well’,” he added.
“With the youth cup team we had in 2010-11, I thought most of us would come into the first team and nail a place down, but it’s not always like that. It’s good to get one or two through to the first team.
“As soon as you step on to the pitch, the fans are behind you straight away – even if you make a mistake, they’re still there.”