Jesse Lingard admits he has encountered his share of “setbacks” at Manchester United, but those hurdles helped prepare him for the first team.
Lingard has been with the Red Devils’ academy since he was seven years old before eventually signing a first-team contract in 2011.
It took nearly three years for the midfielder to earn his Man Utd debut, though, with Lingard leaving on a series of loans.
Following stints with Leicester City, Birmingham, Brighton and Derby and a lengthy layoff due to a 2014 knee injury, Lingard finally locked down a regular spot at Old Trafford in 2015-16.
He’s gone on to make 202 total appearances for his boyhood club, scoring 31 goals in the process.
“I was always small, when I was in the Under-18s I played most Under-16s games because a lot of people were bigger than me, but it didn’t faze me,” Lingard said on The Official Manchester United Podcast.
“I always worked hard, I always stayed behind, always did the right thing.
“I think it’s just working hard, and sticking to the plan but, sometimes you go off course.
“I went on loan, I had to battle there and fight for my place when I came back to United.
“I got injured on my debut so I was out for six months, so I have had a lot of setbacks but if you keep fighting, work hard and keep believing, your dreams will come true.
“It’s the biggest club in the world so it’s tough to start at the bottom and work your way up.
“There’s a lot of obstacles on the way, a lot of highs and lows, but when you finally get to the end you’re playing for the first team week in, week out, you cherish every moment that you’ve been through.”