Jesse Lingard has opened up about the struggles he has overcome to become a first-team player at Manchester United.
The 27-year-old has come under intense scrutiny since a successful 2018 World Cup, following a dramatic downturn in form that has seen him register just five goals and three assists for the Red Devils since - costing him his place in Ole Gunnar Solskjær's starting XI and Gareth Southgate's England squad.
Lingard's wayward displays and exuberant social media presence have seen him become an easy target for trolls and United supporters disgruntled with the club's inconsistent showings over the same period.
However, in an interview with United's official podcast, Lingard revealed he has already had to battle plenty of adversity and 'setbacks' already in his career to even be close to the first-team picture at Old Trafford today, including a serious injury in 2014 and relentless back-to-back loan deals.
"I was always small, when I was in the Under-18s I played most Under-16s games because a lot of people were bigger than me, but it didn't faze me," he said, as quoted by ESPN.
"I went on loan, I had to battle there and fight for my place when I came back to United."
Lingard suffered a serious knee injury on his first start for United in August 2014, when Louis van Gaal offered him his full debut. He continued: "I got injured on my debut so I was out for six months, so I have had a lot of setbacks but if you keep fighting, work hard and keep believing, your dreams will come true."
Discussing coming through the academy to eventually make 200 appearances for the Manchester club, the midfielder continued: "It's the biggest club in the world so it's tough to start at the bottom and work your way up.
"There's a lot of obstacles on the way, a lot of highs and lows, but when you finally get to the end you're playing for the first team week in, week out, you cherish every moment that you've been through."
He added: "I always worked hard, I always stayed behind, always did the right thing. I think it's just working hard, and sticking to the plan but, sometimes you go off course."
Source : 90min