Jesse Lingard has revealed that he rejected the chance to join Liverpool ahead of Manchester United as a youngster.
The 21-year-old is currently enjoying some fruitful time away from Old Trafford on loan. After scoring six goals for Birmingham in the first half of the season, Lingard agreed to join Brighton and Hove Albion for the rest of this term.
Six goals in 13 appearances at St Andrews earned Lingard a call-up to the England under-21 team and a string of good performances on Manchester United's pre-season tour proved he has the potential to be a star at Old Trafford in the first team.
But it could have been so different for Lingard, who has revealed that he had to choose between Manchester United and their archrivals Liverpool when both clubs offered him a place in their academy.
Speaking to Brighton's official matchday programme, he said: “I was travelling up and down the motorway, training with both Liverpool and United, and when I got to nine I had to make a decision."
“In my last sessions at Liverpool I was not really enjoying it and I got on well with the coaches at United and had a lot of friends there, so my choice was made and it’s paid off so far.”
Lingard made his debut for Brighton at the weekend in an impressive 1-0 win against Millwall.
He is set to play a key role in the team as Brighton try to nab a play-off place in the Championship.
The Liverpool/Manchester United rivalry has seen only a handful of players play for both clubs. The last player to make the switch from Old Trafford to Anfield or vice versa was Phil Chisnall in April 1964.