By 90Min
April 06, 2018

Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard says he is happy to be seen as a role model for the club's current crop of talented academy players to look up to after successfully establishing himself as a first-team star over the last couple of seasons.

Lingard made his United debut on the opening day of the 2014/15 Premier League. But after injury ended things prematurely, it was more than a year before his chance came back around.

The 25-year-old admits it can feel weird for younger players to look up to him. His experience of having to be patient also differs from that of teammate Marcus Rashford, who fired into the spotlight at the age of 18 and has never left it.

(You may also be interested in 'Marcus Rashford Reveals the Hardest Thing About Being a Young Player at Man Utd')

"Yeah, definitely [it's weird], but I think it's good to be a role model for young kids," Lingard told Sky Sports ahead of this weekend's Manchester derby.

"There are different paths to the first team, obviously Marcus has got straight in and that's going well, so there are different people they can look up to. It's always good to be about and give advice as well."

Reflecting on his own academy experience, Lingard said, "I moved when I was about 12 years old, different school, had to live in digs, it was harder for my family but eventually they understood it was a path that Manchester United had made for me. I had to stick to it and it has paid off.

"It's great to be recognised as a home-grown player coming through the ranks and making it to the first-team, we can only thank the staff that have helped us along the way. Some are still here today so it's always good to bump into them and catch up with them."

2017/18 is the third consecutive season in which Lingard has played at least 40 games for United. It is also the first that he's managed to reach double figures in front of goal, netting 13 in all competitions so far, many of them crucial strikes.

"I think confidence plays a massive part," he said. "If you go into a game confident you will try things and they will come off. Everything around confidence plays a part, at the moment we are all confident and looking forward to this weekend [against City]."

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