Jesse Lingard details Alex Ferguson talk that made him believe he could make it
Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard has said that a conversation with former manager Alex Ferguson gave him the confidence to believe that he could make the cut at Old Trafford.
Lingard spent 11 years in the United youth academy before going on loan at Leicester, Birmingham and Brighton before eventually returning to Manchester where he made his debut against Swansea City on the opening day of the 2014/15 season.
The Warrington native would go out for another loan spell at Derby before returning to the Red Devils' first-team squad but he said that an early conversation with Ferguson gave him belief that he could make it at the club.
“Honestly, I don’t think I’d be here if it weren’t for Sir Alex. If it weren’t for the main man,” Lingard wrote in a column for The Players’ Tribune.One day, he had a meeting with me and my family. He sat us down in his office and he said, ‘It’s going to take a while for you, Jesse. We believe in you. But you’re going to have to be patient. You’re not going to be ready for the first team until you’re 22 or 23′.
“I can’t even tell you how massive that was for me and my family. You’d think I’d be disappointed, but when an absolute legend like Sir Alex says they believe in you, that means everything. He didn’t have to meet with us, and he didn’t have to say that to me. But that’s why he’s Sir Alex, and that’s why Man United is Man United.”
Lingard also said that his first appearance with the seniors was a surreal moment and that he thought he might piss himself if Ferguson actually put him in the game.
"I’ll never forget the day Sir Alex called me and Pogba up to the bench, away at Newcastle," he added.
"We were 18, 19. I just remember looking around the dressing room and seeing all the legends preparing, pulling their socks on. Scholes. Rooney. Rio. Giggsy.
"Me and Pogs take our spot on the bench, and you know, we were used to playing in reserve games in front of 200 people. This is 50,000. I remember looking up at that massive glass stand at the one end, and it was shaking. And I looked over at Pogs like, Oh my gosh, if the gaffer actually puts me in, I might wet meself."