Jesse Lingard has surely guaranteed himself a place in England’s 23-man squad for the World Cup with his performances this season.
The Manchester United midfielder has shocked many football fans with his displays, scoring 13 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions for Jose Mourinho’s side.
The 25-year-old has become a very important cog in United's machine and is often named in the starting XI whenever United have a big match.
And his manager is often singing his praises as he continues his development from academy prospect to important first-teamer at Old Trafford.
“These boys – they either jump or they don't jump,” Mourinho said. “It's one thing to be a young talent, and another thing is to be a very good player.
“Some players are not capable to do that jump. They go from great potential young players to normal players. I think Jesse is making that jump.
“He is being more consistent, he is adaptable, he understands better the game, he understands the different spaces and positions. I think he is going in a good direction.”
LINGARD COULD HAVE BEEN PLAYING FOR LIVERPOOL
But things could have been different for Lingard.
Very different indeed.
At the age of seven, Lingard was playing for both United and Liverpool as he tried to impress the coaches at both clubs.
But something happened during a match whilst at Liverpool that saw him end his interest in wanting to play for them, turning his attention to United instead.
“One day I was at Liverpool and someone didn’t pass the ball to me and I thought, ‘I can’t be doing this,’” he told the Daily Mail.
“I walked out and said to my grandad, ‘Let’s join United instead’. I swear that was the reason.
“I felt more comfortable at United. I knew I had to make a choice. Grandad looked after me. He still comes now and then to support me and he still texts me before games.”
So, Lingard decided not to join Liverpool because someone didn't pass him the ball at the age of seven. It's that kind of attitude you need to succeed in the game...
It’s impossible to know how his career would have panned out if he had joined Liverpool at such a young age but you get the impression that Lingard made the right choice to stay at United.
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