Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard has revealed that Liverpool tried to secure his services when he was a kid but he chose to move to Old Trafford because his heart was with the Mancunians. Having moved to the Premier League giants academy in 2009 from local club Penketh United, the 22-year-old forward progressed through the youth ranks of the club until current manager Louis van Gaal handed him his first-team debut in the opening game of the last season during the defeat against Swansea.
The versatile forward saw his breakthrough into the senior team hampered after picking up an injury in that game, missing much of the first part of the campaign before being sent on loan to Derby County during the January transfer window to secure more playing time while in the Championship.
Lingard took advantage of the opportunity to prove to van Gaal that he deserved a place in his squad and in recent games has even managed to get a spot in his line-up ahead of the likes of Memphis Depay, scoring his first goal for the club in the 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion before earning the senior call-up for England following the injuries to Michael Carrick and Jamie Vardy.
Speaking ahead of his expected international debut against France on Tuesday night (17 November), Lingard spoke about his hard work that has led to success, adding that when he was a kid the Merseysiders tried to lure him to the Anfield academy.
"I was at a local club Penketh United and Mike Glennie, a Manchester United scout, came to watch me. He spoke to my granddad and offered me trials but there was also interest from Liverpool and I had to pick," he said to MUTV. "I was only young but obviously my heart was with United at the time. Going through the years, I was with Larnell Cole, Mike and Will Keane, Sam [Johnstone], Ravel [Morrison] and Tunners [Ryan Tunnicliffe].
"There are a lot of lads still doing their thing at other clubs and they're happy seeing me where I am. I've won a lot of trophies – like the FA Youth Cup and the Reserves league a couple of times – but it would top it off to win the Premier League with the first team.
"I've worked ever so hard to get here and I can't thank the coaches enough for sticking by me. To see that [goal against West Brom] go in the net was a great feeling for me and my family. It's up there with all the things I've achieved so far, like winning the FA Youth Cup. Hopefully I'll carry on and score more goals for the club," he said.
"I think it's just been an incredible experience, coming through from the Under-7s to where I am now and what I've achieved already. It's been incredible and I can't thank the United staff enough. They could have let me go because of my height and I would now be playing somewhere else but they stuck with me. They saw my ability and I'm thankful for that."