Jesse Lingard
Jesse Lingard has not featured since the opening day of the seasonGetty

Manchester United academy star Jesse Lingard "backs his ability" to establish himself in Louis van Gaal's first team after recovering from an injury, even though he is aware he faces competition from captain Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata if he wants a role behind the strikers.

The 22-year-old versatile midfielder played on the opening day of the season against Swansea City after impressing manager Louis van Gaal during the pre-season tour of the US.

But after picking up a knee injury earlier in the game, he has since been unable to play for the Premier League giants.

Van Gaal recently revealed Lingard continues to figure in his first-team plans ahead of the second half of the campaign and the player has urged the manager for a chance to prove his worth after an impressive performance during the Under-21 Premier League win over Liverpool on Monday 26 January.

"It's obviously amazing to be back," Lingard told MUTV.

"It's been good and to get the three points is the cherry on the top really because it was against Liverpool. I think I'm very close now [to full fitness].

"I started the Norwich game and played about 70 minutes but began cramping up. I had a behind-closed-doors game and played the full 90 minutes in that, and another 90 minutes here, so I feel really good."

Even though Van Gaal deployed him in a right-sided wing-back position during the game against Swansea earlier in the season, Lingard says he feels more comfortable playing in a playmaker role as he did during the victory over Liverpool.

The academy star does not appear to be intimidated by the competition for the role in the first team.

He said: "I like getting on the ball and making things happen. It was hard in the first half due to Liverpool's two sitting midfielders but we broke them down in the second half with our game plan.

"Obviously, Juan [Mata] plays there and Wazza [Wayne Rooney] can play there as well. But I'll keep doing in training what I do, day in and day out, and back my ability."