Manchester United starlet Jesse Lingard has discussed the importance that Premier League legend Wayne Rooney has played in his development as a footballer. Before rejoining his boyhood club Everton in the summer transfer window, Rooney became United's all-time leading goalscorer, and Lingard has spoken highly of the 31-year-old's influence on his progress.
Rooney will return to Old Trafford this weekend, as Everton face a tricky away trip to the current Premier League leaders. In a candid interview with the Independent, Lingard expressed his admiration for the former England captain, claiming:
"His experience in games, especially when you're young, if it's only 1-0 it's always hard to manage a game, and he knew what to do at times, especially towards the end of games. You learn every day from him. Of course (it is hard to follow him), he's always going to be recognised as a legend at the club and he'll get a great reception when he comes back."
Discussing Rooney's recent return to Everton after 13 years away from the Merseyside club, Lingard stated:
"Obviously he was there as a young boy and he thought it was the right decision (to leave) at the time. Yeah, you could say that (he has unfinished business). But now Romelu (Lukaku) has come in and obviously we're focused on playing with him now."
The former England captain has been making headlines for his off-the-pitch behaviour recently - having been arrested for drink driving two weeks ago. Rooney will be eager to focus on his footballing career, as he encounters a particularly difficult moment in his personal life.
The tenacious forward has enjoyed a glittering career, winning five league titles, an FA Cup and a Champions League trophy with the Red Devils. England's all-time record goalscorer recently retired from international football, following Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate's apparent determination to gradually phase the player out of the international set-up.